Auckland mall terror: Mayor Phil Goff speaks out as victims fight for life

Auckland’s mayor has expressed his frustration that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was not able to give the public any concrete information about the terrorist who attacked the public with a knife in Lynnmall, New Lynn, this afternoon.

Phil Goff says it’s frustrating not all the details of the attacker can be revealed because of court-issued suppression orders.

The man stabbed six innocent shoppers soon after 2pm in the Lynnmall Countdown in West Auckland before being shot dead by police.

Goff says he knew nothing about the man beforehand but added that, from his experience in government, the number of people like this individual being monitored is extremely few.

“What’s frustrating for all of us who have just listened to the Prime Minister and the police commissioner is that they were constrained from sharing all of the information that they know about this individual, because of a court order, and I understand that the Prime Minister of all people has to live under the law, and cannot go outside the law,” Goff told Radio New Zealand.

“But what is clear about it is that this person is an ideologically motivated terrorist … It’s appalling that he could cause so much hurt in the space of a minute, just with a knife. But I guess the police interceded as quickly as they were able and ultimately, he has paid the price of his actions.”

The mayor says his thoughts are with the victims and added it is even harder to deal with this attack while the city is under alert level 4 lockdown due to the Covid-19 Delta outbreak.

In a media briefing today after the terror attack, the Prime Minister said the attacker was “a lone wolf” and a “known threat” to New Zealand. Ardern said she personally had knowledge of the man, who was under constant surveillance.

The man was an “Isis-inspired known threat”.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the man was “closely watched by surveillance teams and a strategic tactical team” as he travelled from his home in Glen Eden to Countdown in New Lynn this afternoon.

He took a knife from a shelf in the supermarket before carrying out the attack. He was shot and killed by police within 60 seconds.

“The reality is when you are surveilling someone on a 24-hour basis it is not possible to be immediately next to them,” Coster said.

“This was a violent attack on innocent New Zealanders, it was senseless,” said Ardern. “It was undertaken by an individual who was a known threat.”

The man was under watch because of his extremist views and sympathies with Isis. “The terrorist is a Sri Lankan national who arrived in 2011,” Ardern said.

The Prime Minister said this afternoon she had prepared a timeline of the man’s actions that she wanted to make public but was barred by suppression orders still in place. As the orders were issued by the court, Ardern said it is up to the court to lift them, now that the man is dead.

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