On Friday, March 15, New Zealand was shaken to its core. An unspeakable act of violence not only tore families apart in Christchurch, but it has ripped through the hearts of all New Zealanders.
Our first priority has been supporting the families, the victims and the Islamic community of New Zealand – they are Kiwis and we stand beside them and condemn this horrific act.
This was not something that happened to just the Islamic community, or just to Christchurch. It has happened to all New Zealanders, and all New Zealanders are grieving.
The National Party stands in solidarity with the Prime Minister and the Government in condemning the horrific and violent terrorist attack in Christchurch.
Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers go to all those directly affected by yesterday's events, and to the wider Canterbury community. We share your deep sorrow.
The values of this country, our beliefs, our tolerance for one another, and our ability to get along with each other have made New Zealand the type of place where people want to live. These unthinkable murders will not change that.
In fact, I believe we are witnessing a coming together in adversity that will only strengthen and unify us into the future.
Vigils have been held throughout the country and Manchester Square in Feilding was packed on Monday evening as people gathered to share and express their grief and show their solidarity for those for whom the effects of this tragedy will last a lifetime.
The annual Central Districts Field Days were held last week and at midday on Saturday a minute's silence was observed. Thousands of exhibitors and visitors representing rural and provincial New Zealand came to a standstill on the Manfeild race track.
We stand with and support the New Zealand Islamic community. New Zealand is your home. Your contribution to the rich fabric of our society is valued and appreciated. No one in this country should live in fear no matter their race or religion, their politics or their beliefs.
I would like to acknowledge and thank our emergency responders, our police and our medical staff who worked tirelessly, and continue to work tirelessly, to ensure we feel safe and who are doing all they can for the wounded.
They are heroes, as are the victims who risked their lives to save others. We will remember them and their bravery.
We are still coming to terms with the worst massacre our country has ever seen.
But during times of horror New Zealanders rise up and stand together. We are doing that now.
We are united in our grief, and in our determination to remain the type of country who accepts all people regardless of race or religion. A country which stands up against hate, and is a safe place.
We offer our support in any way we can. We were with you yesterday, we are with you today, and we will be with you tomorrow.