New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has thanked Australia for their support after the Christchurch shootings that claimed the lives of 50 people.
In an interview on The Project with Waleed Aly, Ardern said she was “deeply sad” after the attacks on two mosques, adding that when “there aren’t cameras, where I’ve just been with family … it’s fair to say that those are very emotional moments.”
Ardern also revealed she “gave little thought” to wearing a hijab when meeting families of the victims.
“It was so obvious that would be the appropriate thing to do,” she told Aly. “What I underestimated was that it gave people a sense of security.
“It didn’t occur to me for a moment that there would be those women in the community who would feel unsafe wearing – so obviously – their faith.
“My job is to make people feel safe. The idea that people currently do not, I find deeply distressing and it’s my job to try and bring that sense of security back.”
Ardern described the attack as “so counter” to New Zealand’s values.
“But the response – the flood of flowers in front of mosques, the spontaneous song when people have gathered, the real desire to give safety and security for a person to return to worship – that’s New Zealand.”
The prime minister then acknowledged there are “pockets of ideologies” that go against New Zealand’s beliefs and the country “utterly reject” them.
“We would be naive if we were the only country in the world that didn’t have pockets of that. We do.
“You’ll hear New Zealanders reflect the fact that what happened here was not an act by a New Zealand citizen but that does not mean there are not things we need to address here,” she said. “That’s the bigger project.”
In the last minutes of the interview, Ardern thanked Australia for their solidarity.
“We are absolutely family and we have felt that support acutely,” she said. “And the message I have been sharing with every global leader is our job is to share love and support for our Muslim communities around the world.”
Last week, Waleed travelled to Christchurch and sat down with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to find out how she and her country have been coping through its darkest days… #TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/AwFcSZBTyu
— The Project (@theprojecttv) March 25, 2019