Now, we see it with the Auckland supermarket terrorist.
The wheels of bureaucracy and the law turn so slowly and so often inadequately.
In 2016, the authorities knew the terrorist was dangerous. Yet there he was at large in Auckland in September 2021 running amok.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern herself was aware of moves to deport him as early as 2018.
She and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Roberston have partly been blaming the fact he was free to roam, albeit under 24-hour surveillance, on a hole in the terrorism law.
This matter is before Parliament and will be fixed soon. National will support the change so that those planning terrorist acts can be found guilty.
Despite these comments, and those from a judge who felt obliged to let the man go free from custody, doubts have been raised about whether the changed law would have made that much difference anyway.
Ms Ardern has said how frustrating it has been that the man had not been deported. Ministers had been seeking advice on how to do so for more than three years.
The man was awaiting an appeal on a deportation order, and the public has been told about his ``protected'' status and that United Nations protocols and international obligations must be followed.
Surely, the safety of New Zealanders has higher priorities compared with the responsibilities that are treated with disdain by much of the world.
In any event, it emerged yesterday that, despite the hand-wringing, it might have been possible to have the appeal heard while the man was in prison.
Even if that was not the case, why was the appeal not heard in July as soon as the man was released?
Further, it seems the man might have been able to be deported as a serious national security risk anyway not just because of alleged fraud on his original 2011 application.
Is that so? Why was that not pursued?
There are unanswered questions and doubts about the laws, the processes and what occurred.
The public was assured at the weekend everything possible under the law was done.
But was it? The picture was murkier by yesterday.
The courts and the law generally are riddled with delay, including, it would seem, the refugee appeal process.
In this case, the maxim justice delayed is justice denied became justice delayed imperils public safety.
For all the talk about holes in the terror laws and despite the questions about whether the Mental Health Act should have been used, surely this man should simply have been deported.
Were those asked for options too inflexible?
Are our systems, our appeals, our legal processes too slow and cumbersome and lacking in urgency?
Is New Zealand also too much a soft touch?
Do our bureaucrats and lawyers revel in the legal and administrative complexities, legal opinions and their own importance as part of the system?
New Zealand needs fair and humane policies and processes.
We do not want to be heartless like Australia.
But that does not trump the need for prompt, hard-headed action.
At least, the authorities opted for tight-as-possible surveillance.
New Zealand will always be in danger from lone wolves. As a free society, we will always have vulnerability.
But sadly, in this case, we need not have been at such peril; after all, the basic rationale for having a state is its capacity to remove such a blatant threat to the public.
Inquiries into what did and did not happen and what could and could not have taken place are appropriate.
That is as it should be as this country tries to prevent something similar from reoccurring.
It is simply unacceptable, however, that the Government was unsuccessful after spending more than four years trying to deport this man.