COMMENT
Darren Morton

Prior to 1.40pm today, New Zealand had seemed immune from the threats and events affecting the rest of the world, however we have now tragically joined the sad reality of the world's future security environment.

For many years New Zealand has held a coveted spot as one of the safest countries in the world. To a great degree, even despite the events of today, this status will remain when compared to the larger security threats facing many other countries.

However what many Kiwis forget is that those values of safety, lifestyle and isolation are looked upon favourably by those wishing to do us harm as weakness or vulnerabilities to be exploited.

Advertisement

As a nation many have the mindset that it will never happen here. For me the perfect example of that very mindset are reflected in comments made today by a regional mayor when he stated "It is unthinkable in NZ".

These comments will, of course, not be limited to him but will have been muttered in stunned disbelief by many. But why should we be at all shocked that this has happened here?

For a select few of us constantly monitoring and assessing the global security situation it was never going to be a shock. Despite our hope that we would remain untouched, it was always going to be a matter of when not if.

New Zealand has now come to the hard realisation that our beliefs in our geographic location, way of life, global friend to all image and belief that what is happening in the rest of the world does not affect us, were our greatest threats all along.

So where does that leave us now? We must of course take time to grieve for those lost and fully comprehend what has happened, but our vigilance and understanding of what our new life looks like moving forward, must start now.

While this is hopefully a one-off incident, we cannot assume so. Reality has proven that in our laissez faire environment, it has been easy for individuals to plan a devastating attack that has rocked our society to its core and provided those responsible with global coverage of their crimes.

We now must move forward doing the absolute best we can to maintain our freedoms and way of life, for those are the things we must protect the most.

However our future approach to managing our security is one that we must undertake as a society. We must look out for each other, notice the unusual and report the concerning.

Advertisement

Albert Einstein once said "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."

The reality is we share this world with evil individuals and groups who have little respect for life, however they can only operate in environments that allow them to conduct their planning and attacks free from suspicion.

We can't change them but we can control and restrict the environment they need to operate in through increased awareness and vigilance.

Unfortunately the majority of operators within the general security industry are not prepared to counter such threats and to be honest this is to be expected.

That said there may be providers within the security industry who may look to exploit the current fear within society and to over-supply security officers or services.

I would recommend any business or individual considering increasing such services to do due diligence and carefully scrutinise such prospective providers.

Google searches on company names and directors should be the first step.

Ensure you are acquiring security staff and services that are legitimate and who are provided by professional companies experienced in addressing the specific threat.

Tomorrow morning we will all wake in a continued state of disbelief and part realisation of our tragic inclusion into the real world.

The usual divisive rhetoric that we hear from individuals and groups will continue, with some of the more easily led progressing their beliefs into acts of violence.

Today New Zealand changed, there is no way such an event can occur without a lasting impact at some level. We are now a member of a growing global group who have been impacted by extreme ideologies and beliefs.

Our responsibility as a society, as Kiwis, as New Zealanders, is to remember those lost and to collectively gather and commit to protecting our way of life.

We cannot let this event tear our society apart nor change our lifestyle to one of fear.

That said we must increase our awareness and appreciation of what is happening around us on a daily basis, reporting anything we deem suspicious in the hope that together we can protect our unique way of life.

Darren Morton is the managing director of Executive Security Group.