‘He was not one of us’: Jacinda Ardern to Waleed Aly on Australian terror accused

Ms Ardern asked Aly if she could hug him as they started the interview.

Ms Ardern asked Aly if she could hug him as they started the interview. Photo: The Project/ Channel 10

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has told Waleed Aly that the country was holding on to the fact the white supremacist allegedly behind the Christchurch attack was Australian.

Speaking to The Project host in Christchurch last week, Ms Ardern said it took time to process that the accused terrorist was raised in New South Wales.

“I think that New Zealanders are reflecting on the fact that it was not one of us, because in part that helps them process what happened here,” she told Aly in the interview broadcast on Monday night.

“They do not point it out in an attempt to blame.”

She acknowledged her country had its own extremist elements but said that was “the bigger project”.

“The values of inclusion, tolerance and peace, those are New Zealand values. That is not to say there are not pockets of ideology that are counter to our values,” Ms Ardern said.

“But we would be naïve if we thought we were the only country in the world that didn’t have pockets of that. We do.

“And what you will hear, I think, is even greater resolve to confront that.”

Ms Ardern said she found it “hugely confronting” that the 50 victims were shot dead at Friday prayers during “reflective, peaceful worship”.

She also thanked Australia for its “solidarity and support”.

The interview package opened with a hug between Ms Ardern and Aly, a stark contrast with a testy 30-minute exchange the interviewer had with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison a few days earlier.

The pair had gone head to head on Islamophobia in Australia and the role the Coalition played – if any – in breeding hate speech.

Mr Morrison denied reports he suggested the Liberal party should exploit “concerns about Islam” in a 2010 shadow cabinet meeting, but instead claimed he wanted to address them.

Egging him on

William “Egg Boy” Connolly also appeared on The Project on Monday night, and conceded that cracking an egg on Senator Fraser Anning’s head was not the right thing to do.

He said the Senator’s statement, blaming the Christchurch attack on Muslim immigration on the day of the massacre, was “divisive hate speech”.

“I actually went there to listen to him for an hour, see if he could change my mind. I’m a pretty forgiving person,” Will told the program.

But the 17-year-old said Senator Anning continued running the same line, which merely “empowered” him to egg him.

Senator Anning responded by twice slapping Will across the face with an open hand, according to video, before the politician’s supporters tackled the teen and put him in a headlock.

“In a way it has blown completely out of proportion, in a way that’s kind of embarrassing, because too much attention is actually brought away from the real victims suffering.”

Will said his mum was “glad I stood up for what I believe in, but she definitely disagrees with the way I did it”.

“I understand what I did was not the right thing to do, however this egg has united people.”

He confirmed all of the money raised for him by fans across the globe was being donated to the victims and families.

The 17-year-old also said he already had the nickname ‘Egg Boy’ because he often eats boiled eggs at school.

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