Events such as those which happened over the weekend in Paris have a tendency to impact domestic political agendas.

In 2001 in the wake of the New York World Trade Center bombings, New Zealand tightened up its anti-terror laws and sent troops to Afghanistan.

But perhaps more importantly, the bombings changed the public mood towards the United States from one of suspicion to a degree of sympathy.

If we go back to 2001 our security services are much more sophisticated than they were then.

On the other hand the question of mood might be more interesting.

It is hard to see how the Paris bombings cannot impact on the public response to Islamic migrants, in particular refugees.

Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesman, David Shearer, a former UN official said we needed to keep the Paris attacks in perspective.

“Our security alert at the minute is on low.” he told TVNZ’s “Q+A” yesterday.

“It rose from very low to low.

“But when you look at all the ingredients that made France the target, many of those are missing here.”


Mr Shearer represents Mt Albert, an electorate with a heavy immigrant population and he said the Muslim population was “incredibly peace-loving, law-abiding, hard-working, almost to a fault, and for them, they are the front line.

“Many of those people hate the idea that this has been carried out in the name of their religion.

“So they are very willing to try and make sure that New Zealand stays as safe as it possibly can, and they are, in many ways, can give us information about what might happen.

“So it’s very wrong to point the finger, as some people have been doing, at our Muslim community.

“That said as well, I think our intelligence agencies have got a big job in front of them. “

Meanwhile also talking about immigrants yesterday, NZ First Leader, Winston Peters appeared to be taking a less confrontational approach than usual.

Opening his party’s South Auckland office he praised Hindu MP, Mahesh Bindra.

“He is an immigrant to New Zealand who understands the principles and policies that make good societies work,” said Mr Peters.

“You will have seen a number of “ethnic” candidates from other political parties who got there because the communities from their ethnic backgrounds put up enormous amounts of money for them to do so. 

“Mahesh Bindra is not one of them.

“He was chosen to be one of our candidates because of his work and loyalty to New Zealand First and we are proud of his contribution. 

“Of course Mahesh is going to go on keeping his culture but he understands that we are all here together building a New Zealand culture.”

This degree of tolerance has not however extend to some blog sites. Commenters on two widely read right wing blog sites, “Kiwiblog” and “Whaleoil” were quick to condemn Muslims generally and also call for a more assertive action by the New Zealand Government against Muslim refugees.

But Mr Shearer said it’s very important to understand that the refugees that were coming from the Middle East into New Zealand were coming from the camps that had been vetted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

“They are the people who are in many ways too poor to have got up and gone to Europe,” he said.

Expect to hear more of this debate over the coming week.