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Gerry Brownlee: Royal Commission need into Christchurch massacre

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 19 March 2019, 11:06p.m.
Brownlee says that a ministerial inquiry is not good enough. (Photo / NZ Herald)

A former defence minister is calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch massacre.

Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern has called for an inquiry to look for any security or intelligence failings, following revelations that the accused killer was not on any security radar's beforehand. 

Christchurch MP Gerry Brownlee told Larry Williams that our security agencies have let the country down by not monitoring him more closely or examining the warning signs. 

"The agencies might like to say that people like to travel, but it's an interesting range of countries. There are reports he was active on the net. They may well say they can't look at closed chat rooms."

He says they are likely to feel they are off the hook because he wasn't on the radar, but it is their responsibility to ensure that he was on notice in the first place. 

Brownlee wants Ardern to go further than a ministerial inquiry. 

"It has to be a Royal Commission. The idea that you'd have an inquiry that reports to a Minister is not strong enough. It needs to have the extra overlay where the report goes to the Governor General."

He says "other corners" of Parliament when National was in Government eroded the reach of the security services. 

Brownlee says that our security services were likely focusing on Islamic extremists, which was "appropriate". Brownlee rejects the suggestion that Christchurch is a hotbed for white extremist activity. 

"I've lived in that city all my life and I've certainly never come across them or been aware of them."

He does not believe that security services have been looking into white extremist activity. 

Brownlee says that claims that local Muslims raised concerns with authorities over extremism are "deeply concerning" if true. 

ON AIR: Larry Williams Drive

4p.m. - 7p.m.