Opinion: Living in the age of terrorism threats

The city council has plans to put bollards into the central city. One of the reasons is to protect people in the event of a terror attack.

Just over a year ago it would have been unthinkable to say Christchurch needed bollards for this reason.

Terror attacks happen on the other side of the world. Here in New Zealand? Maybe, Auckland. But Christchurch, no.

March 15 has told us we are not immune.

The Christchurch City Council is considering spending $775,000 on the movable bollards in Oxford Tce, a busy pedestrian area, and in theory, an ideal target for a terrorist in a vehicle.

Factored right into the city council’s thinking is last year’s mosque attacks.

The Aramoana massacre. Photo: File
The Aramoana massacre. Photo: File
The terror attack in the French city of Nice in 2016 has also been discussed. In that attack a truck was used to plough into a crowd on Bastille Day. Eighty-six people were killed.

The bollards are earmarked as part of the council’s Annual Plan spending which, once given the green light, will go out for public consultation.

Former police anti-terrorist squad leader Mike Kyne thinks the bollards are a good idea.

And he should know.

Kyne led the Christchurch-based ATS squad that found and shot dead Aramoana massacre killer David Gray.

ATS squads from different parts of New Zealand methodically cleared baches - or cribs as they are known in Otago - looking for Gray.

Oxford Terrace, south of Hereford St. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Oxford Terrace, south of Hereford St. Photo: Geoff Sloan
It was Kyne’s squad which found Gray holed up in a bach. He was heavily armed and not prepared to go down without a fight.

Gray fired wildly at the squad at close range as he stormed out of the bach. They fired back, mortally wounding him.

“If the police have identified that area as being an area of interest where you could have a lot of damage done by a person in a car, a truck or whatever, then yeah, it’s a good idea because there are more and more people starting to gather in that area with the new restaurants,” Kyne said.

“We’re an international city and as a consequence of being an international city there’s a pragmatic realisation that we can be subject to those sort of things and we can be subject to copycats,” he said. 

The police have been involved in discussions with the city council but who will operate the bollards and when is still down the track.

barry@starmedia.kiwi

 

 

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