PM Jacinda Ardern opens up about feeling 'deeply sad' on The Project Australia

Jacinda Ardern said Kiwis are comforted by the fact the alleged Christchurch gunman was Australian, and opened up about her deep personal sadness in the wake of the terror attack.

The Prime Minister spoke to Waleed Aly, a Muslim reporter from The Project Australia, on Monday night about her and New Zealand's response to the tragedy.

Aly asked Ardern how she was feeling in the wake of the attack that took 50 lives.

"I've avoided that question because the answer is I'm deeply sad," she said.

"There are moments where there aren't cameras and when I'm with families and it's fair to say those are very emotional moments."

Aly asked Ardern why, it seemed, New Zealand managed to handle the tragedy so well compared to larger places like the US and UK.

"I feel that what the world has seen is just who we are," she responded.

"We're a nation of over 200 ethnicities, 160 languages - we see ourselves as peaceful and inclusive. The act has been so counter to that."

She said the response from New Zealanders put the country's true values on display to the world.

Ardern said New Zealanders found comfort in the fact that the accused shooter was Australian, but stressed there was no intention to pass the blame.

"You'll hear New Zealanders reflect the fact that what happened here was not an act by a New Zealand citizen, but that does not mean that there are not things that we need to address here. We do."

She also said she didn't expect her decision to wear a hijab to meet families in Christchurch would be reported so widely.

"I gave it very little thought; it was so obvious to me that that would be the appropriate thing to do.

"It didn't occur to me for a moment that there would be those women in the community who felt unsafe so obviously wearing their faith, and so if in wearing the hijab as I did gave them a sense of security to continue to practise their faith, then I'm very pleased I did it."

She told Aly that she found it "deeply distressing" that people did not feel safe.

"It's my job to try and bring that sense of security back."

But the Prime Minister also said that while the terror attack went against the majority of New Zealanders' values, there were still pockets of ideology that did not align, as there are in many countries.

"We would be naïve if we thought we were the only country in the world that didn't have pockets of that. We do. And what you will hear, I think, is even greater resolve to confront that."

She said the culture of hate does exist, whether New Zealanders knew or not.

"Whether we've spoken about it as openly as we should have, that is a legitimate question. You'll hear New Zealanders reflect the fact that what happened here was not an act by a New Zealand citizen, but that does not mean that there are not things we need to address here."

"Our job is to share love and support for our Muslim communities around the world."

Aly spoke on the Project Australia following the attack, calling out politicians such as senator Fraser Anning, who said the problem was the government systems that "allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate" to New Zealand.


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