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Government confirms Royal Commission into Christchurch terror attack

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Monday, 25 March 2019, 3:33PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that a Royal Commission of Inquiry will be held into the Christchurch mosques terror attack.

People were asking how the attack, in which 50 people died and dozens more injured, was able to take place, including how the alleged gunman obtained the weapons, the role of social media and the role of agencies, she said.

Ardern said she also had questions.

The inquiry would take in the agency review already announced, she said.

There would be a focus on whether security agencies were focused the right way and whether there were any clues that were missed.

Royal commissions were reserved for the gravest of events and the mosques attack was one of those, she said.

Ardern said the inquiry would look at events leading up to the attack rather than the response - that would come later.

The Prime Minister said the seriousness of the attack and the need for answers needed to be weighed up. That would be done when the terms of reference were drawn up, and the names of the inquirers released.

Ardern said she and other ministers would meet this afternoon with Brad Smith of Microsoft to further discuss the role of social media following the sharing of livestreamed video of the alleged gunman's actions.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters, who appeared at the post-Cabinet press conference alongside Ardern, said his focus during his recent visit to Turkey was to ensure the safety of New Zealanders travelling there and he was pleased by the response of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He said he assured Erdogan that New Zealand was not a white supremacist nation, and the diversity of Cabinet was proof of that.

Ardern said the Government's view on Erdogan showing any footage of the alleged gunman's livestream had been made clear.

"That video should not be shared. That is harmful content."

Peters said he was asked to go to Turkey by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) group of 57 Muslim countries and set the record straight.

He said there was no option but to go.

Ardern said she agreed that Peters should have gone to Turkey.

Peters denied claims made in the media that he nodded off during the OIC meeting, saying he was in "deep contemplation" and made extensive notes during the meeting.

He said it was worth the visit because Erdogan was not showing the same video. He was now blurring out parts and the narrative no longer mentioned New Zealand.

Ardern said assurances had been sought over the safety of New Zealanders travelling to Turkey and they had been received.


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