For most of us, life is returning to something akin to normal after the devastating events of 15 March.

But many are still struggling, our country remains on high alert, and it feels strange to attend public events with an armed police presence, even at sports fixtures such as the Maadi Cup NZ secondary schools rowing regatta at Lake Karapiro.

Our Waikato Police have been outstanding since the tragedy, offering heightened security while engaging warmly and reassuringly with the public. They deserve huge thanks.

At the time of writing, Parliament has not begun debating the government's proposed gun law reforms, but they will have been introduced by the time this column is published.


Most feedback I have received supports banning military style semi-automatic weapons and considering other restrictions, and that is my view as well.

Those with legitimate reasons for holding gun licences, such as farmers and DoC staff for predator control, responsible hunters and recreational shooters, should not be detrimentally impacted by the changes, but we must take appropriate measures to enhance public safety and minimise the chances of another atrocity reminiscent of the Christchurch massacre.

That's why National called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into our Security and Intelligence Agencies following the Christchurch terror attacks. We believe our security legislation needs to be revisited with some urgency to ensure New Zealanders are kept safe.

It's not enough to say the right words — we need to follow through with our actions as well. National's Leader Simon Bridges noted that a Royal Commission "is the only suitable level of inquiry to ensure this is investigated thoroughly and independently.

We need to understand whether this could have been prevented. It will need to ask hard questions about whether our security and intelligence agencies had their focus in the right places".

In 2013 the Government decided to abandon Project Speargun which would have scanned internet traffic coming into New Zealand. Similar systems are used in like-minded jurisdictions.

Currently, as part of our cyber-security systems in New Zealand, we have Cortex, which is narrower and designed to protect institutions. It's never easy to balance the rights of privacy against security but where we draw the line must now be reconsidered.

Unquestionably, our security risk has now changed and New Zealanders need to be kept safe. The Royal Commission should look at the past, and Parliament must get on with actions for the future. I welcome the consensus that has emerged over these issues, and I thank everyone in Hamilton who has responded so compassionately to the recent tragedy.