‘I’m deeply sad’: Jacinda Ardern opens up about Christchurch attack

‘I’m deeply sad’: Jacinda Ardern opens up about Christchurch attack

March 25, 2019

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealanders don't blame Australia for the Australian citizen allegedly responsible for the deadly attack that claimed the lives of 50 people at two Christchurch mosques, adding that in private she's been feeling "deeply sad" about the incident.

Speaking to Channel Ten's The Project host Waleed Aly on Monday night, Ms Ardern said she had so far avoided answering the question of how she was feeling.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on The Project on Monday night.Credit:Channel Ten

"I’d like to think that actually when I’ve been asked I’ve always answered honestly and candidly," she said. "I’ve actually just avoided the question because the answer is I’m deeply sad.

"But … there are moments where there aren’t cameras and where I’ve just been with families and it’s fair to say those are very emotional moments."

Following the attack, Prime Minister Ardern said time spent with family had been limited.

"At the moment, my time with them probably wouldn’t be quality because I feel such a draw to be focussed on doing what’s needed for those who have lost loved ones," Ms Ardern said.

"Too much else feels a bit selfish right now. My family have come to me … and visited me in the beehive when they can and I have my parents helping at the moment with [daughter] Neve as well, so I’m the last one that anyone else should be worrying about."

Ms Ardern also explained how she didn't think twice about wearing a black hijab when comforting victims of the attack.

"I gave it very little thought," she said. "It was so obvious to me that that would be the appropriate thing to do. What I underestimated was that it gave people a sense of security.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she didn’t think twice about wearing a black hijab when comforting victims of the attack.Credit:AP

"It didn’t occur to me for a moment that there would be those women in the community who would feel unsafe wearing, so obviously, their faith.

"My job is to make people feel safe. The idea that people currently do not [feel safe] I find deeply distressing and it’s my job to bring that sense of security back."

Ms Ardern said it took her time "some time" to process that an Australian was behind the attack.

"But again, New Zealanders are reflecting on the fact that it was not one of us because in part that helps them process what has happened here," she said.

"But they do not point it out in an attempt to blame, that is not the reason that it’s raised."

On the program, Prime Minister Ardern also thanked Australia for its solidarity and support.

"We are absolutely family and we have felt that support acutely," she said. "And the message I have been sharing with every global leader is our job is to share love and support for our Muslim communities around the world."

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