MPs Pay Tribute to Paris Victims

by Desk Editor on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 — 5:54 PM

On the 17th of November, Acting Prime Minister Bill English led the House in condemning recent terror attacks in Paris.

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Acting Prime Minister):

I seek leave to move a motion without notice condemning the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, 13 November.

Mr SPEAKER: Is there any objection to that course of action being followed? There is none.

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I move, That this House condemn the terrorist attacks in Paris and extend its condolences to the families and friends of those killed and injured. I would also like to acknowledge Her Excellency Mrs Florence Jeanblanc-Risler, French Ambassador to New Zealand, who is in the Speaker’s gallery today. New Zealanders were deeply shocked by the brutal events that unfolded in Paris 3 days ago. Our hearts go out to the innocent people caught up in this despicable act of terrorism. In particular, we extend our deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones, as well as those who were injured, some of whom are still fighting for their lives.

As our Prime Minister has said, New Zealand stands shoulder to shoulder with France in the global fight against terror. Sadly, this is the latest in a series of terrorist attacks on innocent communities around the world. Like France, New Zealand values—if not takes for granted—peace, security, and freedom. These attacks in Paris were directed at these core values. It is abhorrent to us that people going about their daily lives were gunned down in cold blood in an act designed purely for the purpose of killing as many as possible. This is an assault on the democratic freedoms that we cherish.

After the attacks the New Zealand Government responded immediately to check on the well-being of New Zealanders known to be in Paris. The Prime Minister also conveyed his sympathies to the President of France. The Prime Minister will express those sympathies in person to the President when he attends the conference of the parties on climate change in Paris later this month. Finally, I can inform the House that a condolence book has been set up in the foyer of Parliament for visitors and staff to express their condolences. Thank you.

ANDREW LITTLE (Leader of the Opposition): A city that represents the best about our civilisation has been attacked by those who wanted to return us to the worst kind of barbarism, and the Opposition stands with the Government and condemns the attacks in the strongest possible terms. We support the efforts to track down and bring to justice the perpetrators of this atrocity.

Let us remember why these attacks occur. It is not only about extremists killing innocent civilians. The perpetrators of these acts do them to cause fear and terror amongst all citizens of the free world. They win when we succumb to the fear that they foster. They win when we respond only with anger and hatred. They win when we turn on ourselves and on our peaceful communities and on others in our communities. They win when our only response is revenge and retribution. They win when we feel that the only way to be safe is when we abandon our freedoms and curtail our rights as citizens of the free world. When confronted with the barbarism of the sort that we saw on the weekend—barbarism that kills and maims the innocent—the urge for revenge and retribution is real and it is human. In our shock and in our anger we want to avenge, to exact an equal price, but it is when the urge for revenge is greatest that our humanity must take over—our sense of ourselves as loving and peaceful and just people.

For just as the perpetrators of this gross violence wish us to cower in fear to their warped tyranny, so also do they want to see us abandon our humanness—and we must never do that. Because to do so is to yield to their fearmongering, and we must never concede to fear. As we deal with our shock, our anger, our revulsion, our vitriol, our insistence on justice in the face of the grossest injustice, we must never fear the path of peace. We might have differences of party in this Parliament but we are united by our humanity. Let us stand in solidarity with the people of Paris and all France, and in solidarity with all peoples of the world to achieve a just peace.

Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM (Green): The Green Party stands with the people of France in their moment of grief and trauma. To paraphrase a valiant leader from a century ago: your sons and daughters so cruelly slain in the city of Paris this Friday evening are our sons and daughters today, for we are united in sorrow and respect. Our hearts go out to the families of the fallen.

We live in a new age in which humanity is divided not only by ideas but by standards. Our emerging notion of global morals and values, our sense of how to conduct ideas and interests, and how to aspire to manage human conflict humanely have themselves become subject to challenge. The means of conflict are never pretty, but the world is witness today to two forms of belief: one holds that there exists a threshold of behaviour below which no human, by virtue of being human, is expected or permitted to sink; the other is that there is no such threshold. What we have witnessed in the deserts in recent years and what we have witnessed in this new century of ours, in the streets of our cities all around the world, is barbarity of a kind unprecedented in the modern age. It is not that humans have never acted thus in the past—it is that we believed that we had, through pain and effort, civilised ourselves to a higher point. However modestly so, we believe our values and morals today to be of a higher kind.

As we look ahead, the art of global leadership—to be shared by the leaders of all nations—will be to agree on how to respond to such barbarity with stern and far-reaching effect while retaining the values we already hold dear as a young and fragile global community. We do not pretend today to have infallible insight into how that challenge is to be met, beyond affirming that our existing principles and institutions enshrined, essentially, in the UN Charter and in the Statute of Rome are to be strictly respected. We are at a moment of reckoning. We cannot in the heat of the moment lose sight of what we have achieved over the past century, of what we hold dear, of where we wish to head. Perhaps we need to have a debate in this House on these very issues.

Meanwhile, let us pay our respect to the fallen in Paris, and also in Beirut, and Ankara, and Moscow, and Boston, and Garissa, in Gaza and Jerusalem, and Sana’a, and in the skies above Egypt. Let us pay our respect to the peoples and the Governments of these countries, and indeed of all countries, on this planet that we share.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): New Zealand should speak on this crisis with one voice, and so we add our voice to this motion and we support views expressed by other members of this House. We want the French people to know that New Zealand is with them in their hour of grief and anguish at this despicable terrorist outrage. Vive la France.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL (Co-Leader—Māori Party): E Te Whare Pāremata o tātau, tēnā tātau katoa, tēnei te tū ake ki te tautoko i ngā kōrero kua kōrerohia. Kai te whakaae atu te ia o te kōrero, ki te wairua o te kōrero ēngari, kia hāngai tonu taku kōrero ki te hunga kua mate me taku kī atu: “E Tū e, he aha te taonga i haere ai koutou ki te mate. He tara tarau tē, tē! He pā tehetehe! He huruhuru whare riha! He papa pounamu ki te ringa kia māwhiti te karu!”. He kupu kōrero tērā e Te Māngai mō te hunga kua ngaro i te tirohanga kanohi. Tata ki te rua tāngata i parekuratia ai nā te āhuatanga o te hunga—ko ētahi i mate, ko ētahi i puta, ko ētahi kāre anō kia kitea ēngari, i mahi rā i wā rātau mahi nā i te riri, nā runga i te aha rānei, ko wai ka mōhio! Waiho tērā hunga ki a rātau anō! I te tuatahi, me tangi ki ngā mate e kōrerohia nei, ko ngā whanau, ko te hunga i noho nei, e kaputī nei, e kanikani nei, e mātakitaki nei i te āhuatanga o tā rātau noho i WīWī, e kore mōhio nō rātau, ā, i reira tētahi nanakia e whakaaro ake nei ki te kōhuru i a rātau. Nō reira, me pēnei rawa te kōrero, koutou i Te Pō, e moe, e moe, e moe! Koutou te whenua o Wīwī e tū pakari nei ki mua i te aroaro o te hoariri, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawa nui. I ngā tau kua hipa ake, ko Te Māori i haere ki Wīwī. I hiahia nō Te Ao Māori, otirā, tēnei whenua ki te āwhina i a Wīwī i roto i ngā uauatanga o te pakanga. Ko Te Pakanga Tuatahi tērā, ā, nā runga i ngā āki o Tā Apirana Ngata mā, tā Te Rangi Hīroa mā, ē, eke atu ngā Māori ki tērā whenua. Nā Te Ao Māori anō rātau i whakaako ki te mahi ki ō rahi, ērā momo āhuatanga, otirā, i ako nei ngā Māori i ngā waiata o Wīwī. I tēnei rā, ko Te Ao Māori tēnei e tū ake ki te tautoko i a koutou i te wā o te tangi, te wā o te aroha, te wā o te pōuri kia taea ai koutou te puta ki te whai ao, ki te ao mārama. Nō reira, koi nei tētahi paku kupu ki a koutou kai aku rangatira Wīwī, otirā, ngā mea o Wīwī e noho nei i Aotearoa nei, e whakaaro nui nei mō tō koutou whānau kai wīwī e noho ana. Ka tangi ake, hoi anō tē taea te aha! Kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawa nui! Tētahi waiata hai āwhina, hei whakamāmā i te āhuatanga o te ngau o mamae, ka whai mai ā kō ake nei. He kōrero e pēnei ana te kōrero, mā wai rā e taurima te marae! Ēhara i te mea ko te marae o Te Ao Māori ēngari, arā, ko te whenua te kōrero! Mā te aroha, mā te whakaaro nui ā tētahi, ki tētahi! Tēnā, he wai!

  • Waiata

Mā te tika, mā te pono, mā te aroha, koinei ngā kaupapa nui, tēnā koutou, kia ora tātau!

DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT): On behalf of the ACT Party, I would like to add my voice to those who have gone before and express the deepest sympathy and condolence to the victims, their families, and those still recovering from injury, but also to all of the French people in this time of great suffering. As earlier speakers have alluded to, this attack does lead to questions about how a society like ours, which has been so lucky to inherit the tenets of freedom, responsibility, and tolerance, should deal with and respond to those who do wish to do harm and are not tolerant. For my part, I think that we should be prepared to have that debate and never be afraid to state the values that make our country great, but today we should be giving our condolences to the people of France. Thank you.

  • Motion agreed to.

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