NZ PM orders inquiry into Christchurch massacre
Published: 11:01 AM, 25 March 2019
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern; File Photo
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday ordered an independent judicial inquiry into the Christchurch mosque attacks, saying she wanted to know how a gunman shot dead 50 people on March 15.
“It is important that no stone is left unturned to get to how this act of terrorism occurred and how we could have stopped it,” Ardern told reporters, adding the inquiry would include intelligence services and police.
New Zealand’s spy agencies have faced criticism in the wake of the attack for concentrating on the threat from Islamic extremism.
Instead, the victims were all Muslims and the massacre was allegedly carried out by a white supremacist fixated on the belief that Muslims were “invading” Western countries.
“One question we need to answer is whether or not we could or should have known more,” Ms Ardern said. “New Zealand is not a surveillance state... but questions need to be answered.”
Ms Ardern ruled out New Zealand re-introducing the death penalty for accused gunman Brenton Tarrant, 28, who was arrested minutes after the attack on the mosques and has been charged with murder.
She said details of the royal commission were being finalized but it would be comprehensive and would report in a timely manner.
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