Our Prime Minister has been making political capital out of tragedy with her constant references to the Christchurch Mosque shooting.
During her recent trip to the USA she stated again that the Christchurch massacre was New Zealand’s darkest day and inferred that her government had solved the gun problem as a result of that, through the gun buy-back scheme.
Let me state clearly that this article is in no way trying to lessen or downplay the impacts of that massacre at Christchurch, on the survivors, it will have lifelong effect on them and many other people closely involved. It was a tragedy; it should not have been allowed to happen and if correct processes had been followed it may not have happened.
If our PM wants to keep quoting references to this tragedy then she should get the facts right as it was far away from our darkest day
There are a number of historical events in which more than 50 people died, and the Christchurch Mosque shooting is at the bottom of that list.
PUTTING TRAGEDY INTO PERSPECTIVE
* 60, 000 dead. 1821- 1840. Maori murdered by other Maori during the inter-tribal Musket Wars or starved to death because their tribes neglected cultivation for fighting.
1200 dead. 1834 Sacking of Taranaki’s Pukerangiora Pa by Tainui invaders. Death toll included around 150 Te Atiawa whose skulls were personally staved in with his mere by Tainui paramount chief, Te Wherowhero, who only stopped because his arm became swollen and tired.
* 257 dead. 1979 Air NZ Flight 901 airliner accident, Mt Erebus, Ross Island, Antarctica 28 Nov 1979.
* 256 dead. 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake of 3 Feb 1931 20 km north of Napier.
* 200+ dead. 1820s Southland tsunami Orepuki Beach.
* 189 dead. 1863 HMS Orpheus shipwreck 7 Feb 1863 off Manukau Heads, near Auckland.
* 185 dead. 2011 Christchurch earthquake 22 February 2011 Christchurch.
* 151 dead. 1953 Tangiwai disaster train wreck/lahar 24 Dec 1953 Whangaehu River.
* 134 dead. 1879 Little Waihi landslide Waihi Village.
* 131 dead. 1881 SS Tararua shipwreck 29 Apr 1881 off Waipapa Point.
* 121+ dead. 1894 SS Wairarapa shipwreck 29 Oct 1894 off Great Barrier Island.
* 108-153 dead according to various accounts. 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera.
* 87 dead. 1865 Fiery Star shipwreck 11 May 1865 240 km off the Chatham Islands.
* 75 dead. 1909 Penguin shipwreck 12 Feb 1909 off Cape Terawhiti.
* 68 dead+. 1866 General Grant shipwreck May 1866 Auckland Island.
* 65 dead. 1896 Brunner Mine disaster mine accident 26 Mar 1896 Brunner.
* 65 dead. 1846 Kakaramea landslide 7 May 1846. Tuwharetoa tribal leader Te Heuheu Tukino II and most of his family were killed in the landslide.
* 53 dead. 1968 Wahine shipwreck 10 Apr 1968 Barrett Reef, Wellington Harbour.
* 52 dead. 1865 City of Dunedin shipwreck 20 May 1865 off Cape Terawhiti. By some retrospective accounts, between 250 and 600 passengers perished, but these reports were 20 or more years later.
* 51+ dead. 1863 Blizzards and floods Jul 1863 – Aug 1863 Central Otago goldfields. The actual death toll was probably higher because of the transient nature of the miners and the ruggedness of the country.
* 51 dead. Christchurch mosque shootings.
For the PM to talk about the Christchurch Mosque shootings as our darkest day and then infer in later comments that the gun buy-back scheme put in place as a knee jerk reaction to this terrible tragedy, has solved the gun problems in New Zealand is nothing short of political posturing; grandstanding and in actual fact not true.
In my opinion it is nothing more than trying to make political capital from the tragedy and in the light of this government’s race-based politics of division it is manipulative, deceptive and far from the openness and transparency that she likes to claim as her mantra in government.
Currently we are seeing a huge rise in gun crime with various gangs accused of shooting at each other and many drive by shootings at private homes.
The only actual effect of the gun buy-back scheme was to take a particular type of gun (military style semi-automatic rifles) out of the ownership of the public and it has had no real effect on the level of gun crime or the severity of that gun crime.