Bin Laden death welcomed by politicians, Greens aside

By Derek Cheng

Russel Norman. Photograph / Mark Mitchell
Russel Norman. Photograph / Mark Mitchell

Osama bin Laden's death was mostly welcomed with open arms across New Zealand's political spectrum yesterday, with Prime Minister John Key saying the world was now a safer place.

But the Green Party says it would have been better to arrest bin Laden so he could stand trial.

Mr Key said bin Laden was responsible for thousands of deaths, including New Zealanders, around the world.

While it would not necessarily bring "an immediate end to terrorist activity ... I have absolutely no doubt that the world is a safer place".

"For all those who have lost a loved one [in terrorist attacks], they may feel now that some sense of justice has been achieved."

Labour leader Phil Goff said the world was a better place.

"I have absolutely zero tolerance for terrorists who kill innocent people in pursuit of their ideological goals."

But Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said it would have been better to take bin Laden alive so he could face trial.

He would not say if he welcomed the death of bin Laden.

"Basically there's been an assassination, and I'm not going to go around supporting assassinations. It really isn't very becoming for the greatest democracy in the world to go around assassinating people, no matter how bad they are.

"It would have been better had there actually been proper accountability, which there could have been with a trial. [But] I don't know if that was possible [to take him alive]."

Mr Key said he was yet to take any advice on terrorist retaliatory attacks, but the Government would be monitoring the situation closely.

"I don't think that's going to present a huge risk here in New Zealand, but it's always something we're conscious of."

Asked if the SAS in Afghanistan may now face greater danger, he said: "They always take as the highest priority their personal security.

"Again that's something we'll need to monitor. Obviously we're coming into the summer season which is the fighting season in Afghanistan.

"We are entering into what is inevitably a much more risky environment anyway."

- NZ Herald

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