Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today it's a ban on semi-automatic and assault rifles, a security expert says the show of solidarity after the Christchurch attacks is the best defence against ISIS, and a new milestone in the money raised to support the families of those who died. Hosted by Frances Cook.

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Military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles will be banned under stronger new gun laws announced today.

The country's rules around guns have been in the spotlight since last Friday's mosque shootings in Christchurch, where 50 people died and many more were wounded.


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has just revealed the changes in a press conference.

"On March 15 our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place," Ardern said.

"Cabinet agreed to overhaul the law when it met on Monday, 72 hours after the horrific terrorism act in Christchurch. Now, six days after this attack, we are announcing a ban on all military-style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles in New Zealand."

The parts used to convert guns into military-style semi-automatics are also being banned.

The Government plans to develop a buyback scheme, and will put an amnesty in place for such weapons to be handed in.

Gun owners are being asked to register any such weapons on the police website, police.govt.nz.

It's not known how much the buyback scheme could cost, but it's estimated to be in the range of $100m-$200m.

It comes after a petition was delivered to Parliament earlier today, with 70,000 signature from people calling for a ban on semi-automatic weapons.


Labour's Grant Robertson, National's Chris Bishop and Green's James Shaw accepted the petition.

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It comes after reports of panic buying, with Gun City selling out of the type of rifle that was used in last week's attack.

AR-15 style semi-automatic guns were out of stock at Gun City, and several other gun shops also said they'd run out.

Ardern says the immediate ban was to restrict stock-piling of the guns.

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A security expert says New Zealand's strong show of solidarity and support for its Muslim community following Friday's attacks is key to keeping the country safe from any revenge attacks.

A high-ranking member of ISIS called for revenge after the Christchurch terror attack.

The New York Times reported the terror organisation's spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir broke six months of silence to make the call for retaliation.

Security expert Dr Paul Buchanan, says with ISIS fighters returning to their home countries after defeat in Syria, "the threat is real".

"Massacre gives them a recruiting tool and incentive [revenge].

"But New Zealand may be safe if the non-Muslim population rallies around the Muslim community.

"How we respond as a nation will determine the level of threat."

Since Friday's terrorist attacks thousands of New Zealanders have been attending mosques and vigils to show support and solidarity.

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That viewpoint is being backed up by a global counter-extremism expert who has jetted into Christchurch to talk to survivors.

Dubai-based Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi is the chairman of Hedayah, an international centre that looks at countering violent extremism.

He has praised the New Zealand response to its worst-ever terrorist attack, and says the world should take lessons from how we handled the tragedy.

"Some of these extremists, they want to divide us, break us, but we should not let that happen. We need to speak up, as you have done here," he told the Herald.

"Although this is a crisis, there are lessons to be learned here. New Zealand, you taught the world. The world is looking and seeing how you handled this. It's a lesson that we need to learn."

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At the heart of this are the victims, the 50 people who lost their lives in the horror attacks.

The Herald has set up a memorial page, with pictures of those who were lost, and their stories.

It is being regularly updated, so if you would like to add to it, please contact us at newsdesk@nzherald.co.nz

Otherwise, you can find the memorial here
New CCTV footage reveals the suspected Christchurch gunman wildly firing shots from his car at pedestrians during the attack.

The footage shows the gunman's Subaru driving away from the Deans Ave mosque with the driver sounding the vehicle's horn at pedestrians before firing indiscriminately.

CNN released the CCTV video, which was filmed just 300 metres from the Al Noor Mosque.

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In the fallout from the attacks, some people are now losing their jobs.

Ray White real estate has dropped a husband and wife real estate agent team because of their racist posts on social media.

Paul Davie, who has stood for the Conservative Party, and wife Kathryn Davie were licenced salespeople for Ray White in Auckland's Blockhouse Bay.

Following complaints about their recent social media posts that disparage Africans, Muslims, multiculturalism and Maori culture, Ray White terminated their contracts last night.

Ray White New Zealand chief executive Carey Smith said in a statement they are a family owned company, and while they accept many different beliefs, above all the promote tolerance and respect towards others.

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Meanwhile a senior Auckland doctor has been immediately stood down pending an investigation by his employer into vile anti-Islamic rants which were posted on the right-wing blog Whale Oil.

The medical professional, who is employed by an Auckland practice and believed to use the blog name Mac Doctor, is under investigation in connection with a number of offensive blogs criticising Muslims and comparing them to people in Nazi Germany.

A spokeswoman from the medical centre said management had met with the doctor and he had been immediately stood down from his responsibilities while an investigation into the matter was conducted.

Police also arrested a Masterton woman yesterday, after she posted a hateful message on her Facebook page in reference to Friday's attacks.

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You may be noticing a trend that many of the people getting into trouble are online.

So are many businesses and those in positions of Government power, and it's causing a backlash against some tech giants.

The managers of five government-related funds with more than $90 billion in funds under management say they are adding their weight to calls for multi-national social media owners Facebook, Twitter and Google to take action against the spread of harmful content.

Friday's attack was livestreamed and shared on social media.

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund, ACC, the Government Superannuation Fund Authority, the National Provident Fund and Kiwi Wealth put out a joint statement saying the social media companies should "fulfil their duty of care to prevent harm to their users and to society".

They say they were shocked and outraged by the Christchurch attacks and their transmission on social media, and Facebook, Google, and Twitter need to take more responsibility for what is published on their platforms.

They say an urgent remedy is required.

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In other news, a Whangārei man says Air New Zealand is being hypocritical after turning him down for a role because of his tā moko while covering their uniforms and planes with koru designs.

Sydney Heremaia had applied for a customer service agent role last month with the national carrier at Whangārei Airport.

While applying online he disclosed that he had a tā moko on his left shoulder, and tatau, a Samoan form of skin art, on his right forearm. Both were not visible while wearing a corporate shirt.

Heremaia said he was asked to provide photos and to explain the cultural significance of them, which he did.

But an Air New Zealand representative then sent him an email, viewed by the Herald, that said he was being turned down for the job because "the body art you have declared does not comply with our Uniform Standards for roles wearing the Koru Uniform".

Heremaia says they are not "body art" or an accessory, but are integral to his culture and heritage.

An Air NZ spokeswoman says uniformed customer facing staff are not permitted to have tattoos visible when wearing the uniform.

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Well that hasn't gone down well, with the ban on tā moko on staff, while displaying koru designs on its uniforms and planes, has been described as "corporate tokenism".

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson says the policy is "systemic racism", and even illegal.

She says they need to understand a cultural moko isn't the same as body art.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust deputy chairman Ngarimu Blair has also called on Air New Zealand to scrap the policy.

Blair says the ban is racist and hypocritical, given Air NZ gladly uses and profits off Māori cultural design icons and language.

A Human Rights Commission spokeswoman says a person of Māori descent could not be denied employment, entry to premises, or declined service because they wore moko visibly.

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Dairy giant Fonterra is facing an uphill battle, as it struggles to reduce debt, and improve weak earnings.

The company reported net profit of $80 million in six months to January, up from a loss of $348m a year earlier, but said its net earnings before interest and tax dropped by 29 per cent to $323m.

Newly-appointed chief executive Miles Hurrell said the result was "not be where it should be".

Earnings were down across all divisions and the company's already high debt lifted by 4 per cent to $7.4 billion.

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Nearly $10 million has been raised for the families who lost their loved ones in the Christchurch terrorist attack and for those victims who survived the traumatic shootings.

The official Victim Support Givealittle page has now gathered more than $7.2m from over 85,000 generous donors, as of 7am this morning.

That's on top of the $2.3m raised on the Launch Good page from a further 38,712 supporters.

The first of the money from Victim Support is already being handed out to the families.

It's not entirely straightforward.

In Islam, there are cases where women aren't allowed to handle finances, meaning there may be some widows who don't have bank accounts.

Victim Support chief executive Kevin Tso says his team is aware of the religious and cultural needs of the families, and are working with them to help.

Spark Foundation, which runs Givealittle, also announced that a fee of at least $250,000 - which would have been charged to Victim Support's fundraising page - would now be waived after the foundation, Westpac NZ and Payment Express agreed to pick up the cost.

Givealittle says it has been forced to urgently upgrade its website infrastructure to handle "the unprecedented levels of traffic and donations" that had poured in for victims.

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That's the Front Page for today, Thursday, March 21, making sure you're across the biggest news of the day. For more on these stories, check out The New Zealand Herald, or tune in to Newstalk ZB.

You can subscribe to this podcast on Apple podcasts here, iHeartRadio here, and Stitcher here.

If you like to stay up to date on social media, you can find host Frances Cook on Facebook here, Instagram here and Twitter here.