Saturday, July 24, 2021
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HomePoliticalHe Whenua Taurikura: NZ's Hui On Countering Terrorism & Violent Extremism

He Whenua Taurikura: NZ’s Hui On Countering Terrorism & Violent Extremism


A Resounding Success, But Many Key Lessons
Learned

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New
Zealand (FIANZ) has released the preliminary results of a
formative evaluation survey on the hui on counterterrorism
and extremism. “What is very pleasing is that an
overwhelming number of the respondents considered that
attending the hui was of value to them“, said Ibrar
Sheikh, President of FIANZ. “The panel discussion on the
media’s role was considered the most useful, and this was
not surprising “, said Abdur Razzaq, Chairperson of FIANZ
Royal Commission Submission and Follow-Up. “In an earlier
report to the Coordinating Minister, Hon Andrew Little in
March this year, we had given detailed evidence that the
role of the media in promoting Islamophobia was one of the
biggest concerns of the Muslim community.”

Whilst
FIANZ in the past have criticised the role of the DPMC in
the implementation of the Royal Commission Recommendations,
we now have to congratulate them at a number of levels, said
Abdur Razzaq. For example, they have met the timeframe
targets we had set in February for many of the 44
Recommendations. In some cases, they are ahead of the
target.

For instance, the preponing of the
Intelligence and Security Amendment Bill was a total
surprise. It gives us more time to research and prepare. The
new Ministry for Ethnic Communities is scheduled to start on
1 July. The Collective Impact Board and the Oversight
Advisory Boards have also been appointed. The NZSIS and the
NZ Police both have reference groups.

The NZ Police
having gone to great lengths to co-design with the community
almost all the RCOI recommendations. To our knowledge this
type of consultation is a global best practice in
community-oriented policing. What is of more interest is not
just the timeframe targets but also the quality of the
implementation and the hui survey results also point towards
a positive direction, said Ibrar Sheikh. There are however
lessons learned. These include, more direct involvement of
the affected whānau, survivors and witnesses. There is also
a need to ensure that the tikanga process is embedded into
the design of the consultation. These and other
recommendations will be discussed with DPMC in the planning
for next year’s hui.

The current hui was a specific
FIANZ initative. We were the only organization which
specified in our submission the need for such public
discussion and a Centre of Excellence which is New
Zealand-centric. We were pleased that this was adopted by
the Royal Commission and now the DPMC has implemented within
the timetable scheduled we had proposed.

FIANZ notes
that this is the first time anywhere in the world where
there has been a nexus between government Ministers, senior
public servants and policy makers, academics, the media, and
civic society to focus on issues of national interest.
“This is the only way to achieve an all-of-government with
all-of-society approach to address critical issues such as
counterterrorism, extremism, hate, racism and social
cohesion”, said Abdur Razzaq.

Of most significance
is that this hui was one of the first tangible evidence of
the Prime Minister’s acceptance of all the recommendations
“in principle”, which is now being implemented by
Minister Little “in practice”, said Abdur Razzaq. This
transition from ‘intention to implementation’ is of
pivotal importance. The key question remains is that whilst
some of the recommendations have started to be implemented,
have sufficient funds been set aside for all the
recommendations? In this respect, FIANZ shall be releasing a
four-part Report, starting with the role of the Treasury,
said Abdur
Razzaq.

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