As of this writing, Americans are unable to visit New Zealand due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, so use this story to plan future travel.
Either it’s your first time in New Zealand or you’ve been there for a while Working Holiday Visa, Christchurch is an underrated goal that deserves to be on your itinerary. Apart from being one of the largest cities on the South Island – which makes it a great place to catch cheap flights and stock up on supplies for epic road trip—It is also an excellent base from which to explore more of the Canterbury Region. Here are three of my favorite places to take a day trip from Christchurch, all within a two hour drive of the city center and reachable by car, shuttle bus or train.
Distance from city center: One hour and 20 minutes.
Why should you go: Located along the Banks Peninsula, Akaroa is often referred to as “New Zealand’s most French city,” which makes sense since it’s the only French settlement in the entire country. Come for the seaside views and enjoy food, nature excursions, kayaking tours, hiking trails and opportunities to visit Giant House, a Gaudí-esque style garden designed by sculptor Josie Martin.
How to get there without a car: That Akaroa’s French connection buses depart daily from the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, with round-trip tickets available for $ 35 ($ 50 NZD). Discount tickets can also be found via My message, New Zealand’s popular bidding website.
How to get there without a car: Hanmer connection offers door-to-door shuttle bus from Rolleston Avenue in Christchurch to Thermal Pools for $ 35 (NZD $ 50) round trip so you can visit for the day or $ 20 ($ 30 NZD) one way if you prefer Keep staying.
Arthur’s Pass National Park
Distance from city center: Two hours.
Why should you go: What started centuries ago as a popular Māori cross-island hunting route is now home to a sprawling 148 hectares Arthur’s Pass National Park in the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Filled with family-friendly walking trails as well as several inland tramping trails, the park offers a variety of habitats depending on which part you are visiting. The eastern side features forest of beech trees, while the west side is home to vast rivers and rainforests. The central area of the park is where you will find majestic snow capped mountains and impressive glaciers.
How to get there without a car: Several shuttle buses are available from Christchurch to Atomic Journey and East West coach—Both offer a one-way ticket for $ 35 (NZD $ 50) or a round-trip ticket for $ 70 ($ 100 NZD) — while travel sites such as protector offers the option of guided day trips. From Christchurch, you can also opt for an epic journey through the Southern Alps by boat TranzAlpine Train, passing through Arthur’s Pass en route to Greymouth on the West Coast (tickets start at $ 41 or $ 59 NZD).
Four neo-Nazi groups banned in Europe and North America operate in Australia, as warned by police and terrorism experts about the increasing global threat posed by lone-right extremists.
A foreign-banned Neo-Nazi group is operating in Australia, with experts warning of an increasing global threat from far-right extremists
One of the banned groups has been linked to the Perth mosque shootings and the murder of a German politician
Experts are also concerned that the lockdown is leading to increased online radicalization
A new report has identified more than a dozen white supremacist organizations operating in Australia that recruit disgruntled young men and women via encrypted online messaging platforms.
According to the report: “Australia has become fertile ground for right-wing activism and violence.”
Men with links to one of the banned groups abroad were responsible for the shootings at a Perth mosque in 2010, and for the murder of a German politician in 2019.
The report, jointly prepared by the UK’s Center for Radical Rights Analysis (CARR) and Hedayah, the UAE-based violent extremism research center, said: “Australia’s more peripheral neo-Nazi cell branches in Australia [have been] is actively involved in the campaign of terror and violence by the radical right. “
Compiled with policy assistance from the Australian Department of Home Affairs, the report also finds that since the 2019 Christchurch terrorist attack, carried out by an Australian, these groups have “become more explicitly anti-Semitic, aggressive racist and white supremacist” .
“I think there has been a growth in individuals embracing extremist or terroristic ideology in Australia after the Christchurch attacks,” Dr Bethan Johnson, a CARR researcher, told the ABC.
One of the UK’s most senior counter-terrorism police officers, Chief Detective Inspector Martin Snowden of the Yorkshire Police, echoed the report’s findings.
“This is a significant risk for us, and I think that risk can be seen in a number of countries around the world including Australia,” he said.
“Daesh or AQ [Al Qaeda] Inspired terrorism is still the most significant threat, but the right wing is growing at an even faster pace.
“The arrests over the last 12 months will show that 20 to 25 percent of them are in the space of right-wing terrorism, and that volume is increasing year on year and I think it will continue to grow.”
Some of these groups adhere to “acceleration,” a philosophy that seeks to promote not only hate crime, but terrorism as well, in the hope of sparking racial wars.
“Basically, it says because democracy is doomed to fail, what needs to happen is that terrorism needs to be used to accelerate the destruction of this society and it will facilitate the rise of white people again,” said Dr Johnson.
Australia’s terror list grows
Four of the groups named in the report have been banned overseas but not in Australia: Combat 18 (banned by Canada in 2019 and Germany in 2020), Blood and Honor (banned by Canada in 2019), Generation Identity (banned by France in 2021)) and Proud Boys (banned by Canada 2021).
There are currently 27 terror groups registered in Australia, including Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram and Jemaah Islamiyah.
Chief Inspector Snowden’s team was responsible for the group’s ban in the UK.
“In the UK we certainly see the benefits of a ban,” he said.
“It helps to dismantle the group, stop the group from reinvigorating themselves and coming back … this is a very valuable tactic.”
The Federal Parliament’s intelligence and security committee is currently carrying out an investigation into violent extremism.
Interior Secretary Peter Dutton has asked him to consider what “changes … could be made to the Commonwealth of terrorist organizations listing law to ensure it is fit for purpose, addressing current and emerging terrorist threats, reflecting international best practice,” and provides a barrier to those who may seek to promote extremist ideology in Australia ”.
Dr Johnson said the ban generally triggers greater power for law enforcement and security agencies to investigate these groups, and “shows seriousness” about the threat.
“Each country handles it differently, so some are more proactive in banning and designating terrorist groups,” he said.
“I think Australia is more reluctant to do this at the moment.”
The group associated with the assassination of politicians
One of the groups identified in the report, Combat 18, is linked to the shooting of a mosque in Perth 10 years ago. In 2015, members of the group posted anti-Islam stickers on a Melbourne playground.
Dr Johnson said: “The 18th Battle in Australia has a sort of checkered history… it ebbed and flowed like anywhere else, but they definitely got involved and believed in the use of violence in the advancement of their belief system.”
A man with links to the group was recently convicted of the murder of a German politician, Walter Luebcke, in 2019.
His killer attended a meeting four years earlier where Luebcke had spoken positively about allowing refugees into Germany.
“They filmed the show, their hatred grew from there,” the Luebcke family’s lawyer, Dr Holger Matt, told ABC from Frankfurt.
“[Mr] Luebcke was not the previously famous national politician, but a symbol of the hatred of the gathering. “
Blood and Honor, which has a local branch in Australia, was banned by Canada in June 2019.
Chief Inspector Snowden told the ABC he remains concerned about its activities around the world.
Generation Identity – whose Austrian branch accepts financial donations from Christchurch shooters – was banned by France several weeks ago.
It also has a local branch.
Chief Inspector Snowden said the relatively small size of these organizations in Australia – officially, the Proud Boys number less than 30, for example – shouldn’t be too comfortable.
“A group in Australia may have very few members, but if they use other forums to promote their views, then there is a significant risk there,” he said.
There is also a tendency among these organizations to disguise their true membership, and Dr Johnson says it only takes one person to cause significant harm.
“Even if your group has less than 20 people, if those 10 people are preparing for a terrorist attack it could be a very serious problem, and I think it could be the case or maybe the case in Australia if things are not done.”
The group that grows domestically is on the rise
William Allchorn, another CARR researcher, said there were several local groups in Australia that were also of concern, including the Antipodean Resistance and the relatively new National Socialist Network, which has posted photos of its followers to an encrypted Telegram channel.
“He posts regularly about offline activism, including camping, burning crosses, making graffiti and sticking,” said Dr Allchorn.
The group is responsible for bullying community members on Australia Day in Grampians National Park.
New photographs provided by Dr Allchorn show undercover group members in various locations including Adelaide and in the hills outside Canberra.
“Following openly extreme ideology, anti-democracy and neo-Nazism, this group supports National Socialism as the only world view that will ensure the survival of the white race,” said Dr. Allchorn.
He also said “they are very tactical in their language” and “try to avoid anything they think will make them banned or made illegal”.
The report praises the success of the program against extremism run by CAPE (Community Action to Prevent Extremism), a non-profit organization funded by Multicultural NSW.
“It is important to note that only one well-known program to date has attempted to distribute far-right counter-narratives in the Australian context; namely the CAPE ‘Exit White Power’ project.”
The lockdown saw increasing online radicalization
Dr Allchorn said Australia had “done well to look into cases of Islamic extremism, but there hasn’t been much history in countering violent extremism programs on the far right”.
“In a post-Christchurch context, a lot more of this program has to be there.”
Dr Johnson said security agencies around the world were concerned about the impact of the pandemic and community lockdowns.
“People no longer feel the benefits of living freely in a multicultural society,” he said.
“The period of isolation we all have to go through … has sadly caused all kinds of people to turn inward and then go online and seek community [of like-minded people], and this is exactly what radical groups and terrorist groups are looking for.
“They recruit mostly online and have been doing it for some time, and they have a structure for recruiting.”
Chief Inspector Snowden agreed: “We are definitely seeing during the lockdown period in the UK an increase in online activity by a number of people across the ideological spectrum, and that has raised concerns about what might happen after the lockdown release.”
Emirates can return to NZ in its bar-equipped A380. Photo / Provided
Emirates will restore non-stop flights between Auckland and Dubai and bring the A380 superjumbo back to the country on a transtasman flight between Christchurch and Sydney later this year.
Although the airline did not confirm the move, the route did appear on its booking site.
The non-stop and return of the A380 will be welcomed by travelers and bring more competition throughout Tasman. Airline flights between Auckland and Dubai have been flying via Kuala Lumpur since non-stop flights were suspended.
“ Like other commercial airlines, Emirates adjusts capacity according to demand. Any confirmed plans for deploying the A380 on our routes will be announced in a timely manner, “said an airline spokesman.
Services to Auckland and Christchurch fell from 21 a week before the pandemic to nine a week last year, with only four of them being passenger flights and the rest only freight. Since then, the airline has rebuilt its timetable even though it is well below pre-Covid capacity and the airline’s website suggests it will continue to use the Boeing 777 on its Auckland route instead of the A380.
The changes took effect in early November in line with traditional scheduling changes to match the shift to the Northern Hemisphere winter.
Earlier this week the airline said it would increase service to New Zealand to six times a week from this weekend.
Emirates flies from Dubai four times a week. However from 28 March, flights will depart from Auckland to Dubai every day except Sunday and from Dubai to Auckland every day except Saturday.
The Dubai-based airline – the world’s largest long-haul carrier before Covid – temporarily suspended its entire fleet last April, but has restored its network with the aim of having all of its planes be able to route by the end of the year.
Meanwhile capacity continues to churn for all airlines.
OAG analysts say capacity continues to grow in some markets without really any logical explanation, the confidence of chief executives across US airlines continues to grow, there are rumors of a transatlantic corridor for the northern summer, warnings surrounding an extended travel ban in Europe, Japan confirms none international visitors to the Summer Olympics and total confusion surrounding the vaccine launches in Europe. It’s been a quiet week!
Scheduled airline capacity rose 1.4 percent to 59.8 million seats, but OAG said seats could be cut quickly.
In early March, scheduled airlines planned about 309 million seats for April; this week is 284 million; about 9 percent of capacity was cut less than eight weeks prior to the scheduled operation date.
New Zealand’s Muslim community on Monday marked the second anniversary of the deadly terrorist attack on a mosque and an Islamic center in 2019.
A special prayer ceremony was held at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, attended by hundreds of people, including local officials, according to state-run Radio New Zealand (RNZ).
“Today I feel sad and peaceful at the same time, sad for those who have left us but grateful that we can all regroup in memory of our loved ones and our friends,” mosque prayer leader Gamal Fouda was quoted as saying RNZ. meeting.
On March 15, 2019, Brenton Tarrant, a white Australian supremacist, killed 51 people and injured 40 at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Center. He was sentenced to life in prison in August last year without the possibility of parole, in the first verdict handed down on the island nation.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel also attended the ceremony.
Speaking on the occasion, he said he had been close to the Muslim community through his history as immigration minister and mayor presiding over citizenship ceremonies in the country.
“I know some families personally, so it’s hard to accept what happened,” he said.
“Some of them came here as refugees and the essence of refugee status is to offer people a level of protection they cannot get in their own country, but we cannot protect them from extremist behavior, someone who is motivated to carry a terrorist attack. against innocent people while they are praying, “he added.
SYDNEY – Matt Quinn was once a youth leader with a passion for overcoming injustice – an unlikely candidate, perhaps, to form a white supremacist gang.
But the Australian said he was bullied as a teenager too. “I was constantly beaten,” recalls Quinn, now 40. “Having this group was like a refuge to me, no one was going to touch me.”
Her change of heart didn’t happen overnight, but the moment an Asian man saved her from being attacked marked a turning point. Currently, Quinn heads Exit Australia, a non-profit organization that seeks to deradicalize extremists. He is the person Australians are aiming for – not fleeing – as the country searches for answers to right-wing ideology.
However, two years after a 28-year-old Australian man carried out New Zealand’s deadliest mass shooting – the killing of 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, 2019 – some experts say authorities have still not done enough to fight back. danger growing at home. Some say Australia is still grappling with its own values, ideas and history, so it is reluctant to face these threats head-on.
Quinn knows how real the danger is. To him, his grandfather’s graphic stories of persecution as Japanese prisoners during World War II and right-wing political rhetoric about Australia being “swamped” by Asian immigrants in the 1990s proved to be a flammable mixture. His gang will roam the western part of Sydney, looking for Asians to harass.
Soon Quinn recruited more angry young men – and fell deeper into the extremist rabbit hole itself. “It got worse and worse until I got to the point where I thought about carrying out an attack,” he said, “going into town and shooting an Asian.”
He pulled himself back from the brink. But in his view, there are still few support services to help those at risk of being ensnared by white supremacy, in contrast to the millions of dollars allocated by the federal government to fight Islamic terrorism.
“They have no support for them [underlying] problem, whether it’s about looking after their family or dealing with trauma, they’re always being pushed away, “he said.” As soon as you give support to some of these people, they let go of resentment. “
Quinn’s analysis can explain, in part, why right-wing groups are now present in regional cities and metropolitan cities around Australia. ASIO, the Australian spy agency, warned that young people who were “nearing adolescence” were being radicalized by these groups.
The agency said right-wing extremism now constitutes about a third of its counterterrorism workload, up from just 10% to 15% in 2016.
Australia’s national intelligence and security committee, made up of members of the cross-party federal parliament, is conducting an investigation into how to deal with the matter. Meanwhile, the federal government led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison is preparing to designate far-right groups as a terrorist organization – a first in Australian history – but faces opposition accusations that they are “downplaying” domestic threats.
This is by no means a peculiar Australian problem, but recent incidents have raised concerns. In January, dozens of neo-Nazis rallied in a national park where they burned crosses and chanted slogans. In the city of Albury-Wodonga the following month, members of the Proud Boys from Australia threatened people they believed to be Antifa members in their homes and workplaces. An Aboriginal woman was also blown up by a neo-Nazi in broad daylight.
COVID-19 only perpetuates discrimination against Australian minority communities. In a survey released this month, nearly one in five Chinese Australians reported being physically threatened or attacked because of their identity, while ASIO said far-right groups had exploited anxiety from the pandemic to recruit members.
The Jewish organization also sounded the alarm. “It’s not just white nationalist ideas or white supremacy, it’s actually neo-Nazi ideology that is becoming much broader and actively supported, aimed at Hitler’s rehabilitation and rejection of the Holocaust, while advocating another genocide against the Jewish people,” said Julie Nathan, director of research on the Australian Jewish Executive Council.
A recent report by the ECAJ found a marked increase in serious anti-Semitic incidents in Australia, including a doubling of physical assault. Anti-Semitism is also creeping into mainstream institutions, the council said, as more Jewish students report incidents of persecution at Melbourne schools.
“The school’s failure to take this matter seriously is testament to the acceptance of anti-Semitic ideas and abuse,” said Nathan. “The Jewish community is out loud because this situation is now being handled.”
The difficulty of dealing with racism and extremism in Australian society is rooted in the country’s history, according to Chin Tan, race commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Although Australia is now one of the most multicultural countries in the world, Australia is built on openly racist policies. The government of Prime Minister Edmund Barton’s first in 1901 laid the groundwork for what became known as the “White Australia” policy – a series of bipartisan legislative measures to maintain racial and cultural homogeneity. This is on top of a devastating policy of assimilation targeting Indigenous populations.
It was only in 1973 when the last vestiges of White Australia policy were completely eradicated.
The country will then undergo a demographic transformation, receiving waves of immigrants from Asia and the Middle East. By 2023, this former British Empire colonial post is expected to be home to more Chinese-born than British-born.
“Australia has taken a bit of a quantum leap in terms of social movements,” said Tan. “We have people here today who lived in that era of white policy. [They] may still live under the values we had in the past. “
Tan believes that Australia has an obligation to “reflect more clearly what multicultural society means to us in the context in which we were previously a country,” stressing right-wing ideology is “undermining our social cohesion.”
And while White Australia’s policies are in the trash, the legal system is still too accommodating of racists, according to ECAJ’s Tan and Nathan. In Victoria, Australia’s second largest state, racial defamation laws have resulted in only one successful prosecution in 20 years. The state parliamentary committee has called for the law to be expanded and the Nazi symbol banned.
Another problem, according to federal lawmaker and counterterrorism expert Anne Aly, is that security services are struggling to adjust to threats from individuals rather than organizations.
Two years later from Christchurch, where Australia’s only gunman carefully planned and executed his attack on Muslim worshipers, Aly said the authorities were still “seeing terrorism through an Al-Qaeda lens or having a base.”
Manal Dokhan, whose husband was killed in a mosque attack in Christchurch, gave an impact statement on his victim during the shooter’s sentence in August 2020.
The security committee member said the reality was that terrorism was less hierarchical, and the country still lacked a “recipe” for the right despite having the largest set of terrorism-related laws in the Western world.
Indeed, Australia has enacted more anti-terrorism laws than the US, UK and Canada since the September 11, 2001 attacks. The scope of these laws is so broad that the federal government has the power to revoke Australian dual citizenship if they are convicted of a terrorism offense. One expert calculated that from 9/11 to the end of 2007, new anti-terrorism laws were enacted almost every two months.
Complicating the battle is social media, which allows extremists to operate and recruit transnationally. Quinn Australia, whose organization works with Facebook to identify and remove their material, is deeply concerned about foreign interference from groups based in the US, Europe and Brazil.
“The biggest threat we have is foreign groups linked to terrorism trying to get involved in Australian space,” he said. “They are basically looking for angry people, who are looking for darker and darker extremist material.”
Many groups, he added, “are only interested in chaos.”
Aly hopes a security committee investigation, scheduled for next month, will “reveal the extent of the right-wing threat and prompt some response.” He, like Tan, believes Australia needs some introspection.
“It’s very difficult to turn the mirror on yourself and examine your own responsibilities in that space,” says Aly, “but it needs to be done.”