Newly released CCTV footage shows a New Zealand delegation, including Justice Minister Andrew Little, being tossed about on the rooftop of an Indonesian building in August as the country was rattled by an intense, deadly quake.
“It was pretty terrifying,” said Mr Little, who shared the video on TVNZ 1’s Breakfast today.
No stranger to violent earthquakes, Mr Little was present during the Canterbury quakes in 2011 and “the big one” in Wellington in 2016. But this one, he said today, was different.
It made him fear for his life.
“What you’re seeing there is we were in the sort of garden rooftop area, and the building shook horrendously, and it went for quite a while,” he told Breakfast host Hayley Holt as the video played.
“I certainly got to the point where I thought, ‘At what point is this going to stop, and how much longer is this building going to hold up?’ At one point it just went all black or dark – the power went out. It came on pretty quickly afterwards, but it was a genuinely terrifying experience.”
The 6.9-magnitude earthquake did claim more than 550 lives and severely damage or destroy area buildings, but no Kiwis were hurt.
The delegation had travelled to Lombock in August for a counter-terrorism meeting that also included participation from Indonesia, Australia, Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. It was abruptly cancelled after the quake, which saw Mr Little and Australian Minister Peter Dutton quickly evacuated to the airport.
But Australasian leaders took another shot at a rescheduled terrorism prevention gathering this week.
“This is an important issue in that particular area,” said Mr Little, who has recently returned from the second trip to Indonesia. “I think the main thing is to make sure that when it comes to sharing of information about individuals…that we’re doing that properly and correctly.
“For New Zealand, we’re somewhat more fortunate. We’re somewhat more distant from the epicentre of the issues compared to those other countries, but the reality is we’re not immune. And we need to make sure we’re working with those other countries…”