We said 'never again': Jacinda Ardern explains NZ's response to guns

We said ‘never again’: Jacinda Ardern tells US TV about New Zealand’s response to Christchurch massacre

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took the opportunity to tell a large US audience how her own country handled gun reform in the months after the horrific Christchurch mass shooting in 2019.

Ardern’s US visit coincided with news of the mass school shooting in Texas, that saw 19 children and two teachers murdered by an 18 year old gunman.

Speaking with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, Ardern was asked to explain to the audience just what New Zealand did following the massacre.

Ardern started by noting there was “general consensus” regarding the plan, and that she can only speak to her country’s experiences. “We are very pragmatic people,” she said.

“When I watch from afar and see events such as those today I think of them not as a politician, I see them just as a mother and I’m so sorry for what has happened here,” Ardern said.

“Then I think about what happened to us and all I can reflect is, we are a very pragmatic people. When we saw something like that happen everyone said ‘never again’, so then it was incumbent on us as politicians to respond to that.

“Now, we have legitimate needs for guns in our country for things like pest control and to protect our biodiversity, but you don’t need a military-style semi-automatic weapon to do that. So we got rid of them.”

Like Australia did in the 1990s following the Port Arthur massacre, New Zealand introduced a buyback scheme to collect and then destroy as many weapons as possible.

She finished by saying the country still has work to do.

 “There are still obviously guns that are misused in New Zealand, and so I won’t sit here and say that our system is perfect, but we saw something that wasn’t right and we acted on it.”

During the segment, Ardern also spoke about New Zealand as welcoming back tourists, with the borders re-opening.

“Everybody go down, you are not going to regret it. It is the most beautiful place on the planet,” she said.

Ardern was also asked about her daughter’s mother’s day card, recently shared to Instagram, in which Neve declared “I love you like hot lava.”

She also shared an invitation with Colbert to attend her upcoming wedding with partner Clarke Gayford.

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