New Zealand PM launches major inquiry into Christchurch attack

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is addressing media from Parliament.

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎RNZ‎‏ في الأحد، ٢٤ مارس ٢٠١٩

March 25 (UPI) — New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday that there will be a Royal Commission Inquiry into the nation’s security agencies over their failure to thwart the Christchurch terrorist attack.

Last week, Ardern said New Zealand’s cabinet had agreed to launch an inquiry. On Monday, the cabinet had decided it would be a Royal Commission Inquiry, which is “reserved for the most serious matters of public importance,” the Department of Internal Affairs said on its website.

During a media briefing Monday, Ardern said that while New Zealand and Muslim communities around the world were still grieving, they were also asking how the terror attack on March 15 when 50 people were killed was able to occur.

She said she intends to get them those answers.

The inquiry will investigate what could have and should have been done to prevent the attack, she said, adding that all related government agencies, including the Security Intelligence Service, the Government Communications Security Bureau, customs and the police, among others, will be probed.

“It’s important that no stone is left unturned to get to the bottom of how this act of terrorism occurred and what, if any, opportunities we had to stop it,” she said.

The probe will focus on whether agencies overlooked any reports that could have alerted them to the attack as well as if they were allocating resources appropriately, she said.

She said that the inquiry will examine events leading up to the attack rather than the immediate response from police and emergency services, though they will be investigated separately.

The lead investigator and duration of the independent probe had yet to be decided, she said, adding that she understands the public is demanding answers, “but we equally have to allow the inquiry the time to do the job properly.”

She said a Royal Commission is “usually reserved for matters that are of the gravest public importance” and was clearly the appropriate response.

Ardern also announced a scheduled trip to China from Sunday but that it had been scaled back to only one day of meetings due to the attack.

She will be going to Beijing to open New Zealand’s embassy as well as meet with President Xi Jinping.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been arrested and charged with one count of murder for his connection to the March 15 shooting of two Christchurch mosques that left 50 people dead.

More charges are expected to follow.


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