Jacinda Ardern has penned a touching note dedicated to those killed in the Christchurch mosque shootings.
The New Zealand Prime Minister was the first signatory of a national condolence book opened in Wellington today.
“On behalf of all New Zealanders, we grieve together. We are one. They are us. Tatau Tātau,” she wrote in the book.
Ms Ardern said she is seeking advice on any possible deportation of the man accused of the Christchurch mosque shootings.
Brenton Tarrant, the man charged in relation to the Christchurch massacre, is Australian and had been living in Dunedin until his alleged killing spree at two mosques on Friday.
Ms Ardern was asked by reporters whether the 28-year-old was likely to be deported to Australia.
“I don’t want to go too far down that track while we’re obviously in early stages. Charges have been laid, we can expect additional charges, he’ll be appearing in the High Court on the 5th of April, so there’s obviously a process that needs to be gone through here.
“But I can say I am seeking advice on what will happen thereafter.”
Ms Ardern earlier said there was no place in New Zealand for perpetrators of such acts of “extreme and unprecedented violence”.
Asked whether Ms Ardern was referring to deportation before a sentence was served or after, a spokesman said she was looking at the issue in its entirety and getting advice on all options.
Tarrant did not require a visa to enter New Zealand because as an Australian he was able to enter the country and live there without one.
Immigration New Zealand, which said it could not comment specifically on Tarrant, said Australians were subject to the same deportation liability as any other visitor.
Ms Ardern would not say how long Tarrant had been in New Zealand but said he had visited “sporadically”.
At present Tarrant is charged with one count of murder under the Crimes Act.
Ms Ardern confirmed Tarrant will be prosecuted in New Zealand.
The Prime Minister also confirmed her office received his manifesto minutes before the attack on Friday.
TEEN FACES COURT AFTER SHOOTINGS
An 18-year-old has faced court in New Zealand accused of making a sick boast in the aftermath of the Christchurch mass shootings.
The teen faces two charges: one of sharing the shooter’s live-stream video and a second for posting a photograph of the mosque with the message “target acquired” along with other chat messages “inciting extreme violence”, the New Zealand Herald reports.
When the 18-year-old appeared in Christchurch District Court today, Judge Stephen O’Driscoll allowed his name to be suppressed but refused his request for bail.
Police said the teen was not involved in the shootings on Friday.
He is due back in court next month.
The charge relating to distributing an objectionable publication is dated March 15, the day of the mosque shootings, court documents show.
The second charge, of making an objectionable publication, alleges the offence took place between March 8 and 15.
The teen was initially charged with publishing insulting material with intent to excite hostility or ill will against a group of persons on the basis of race, ethnicity or national origins. That charge was withdrawn today and replaced by the two new charges.
The maximum sentence for each of the charges against the 18-year-old is 14 years’ jail.
‘ONLY ONE’ SHOOTER INVOLVED IN ATTACK
New Zealand’s police chief said on Monday that they are certain there was only one attacker involved in the mass shooting in Christchurch last week.
“I want to definitely state that we believe that there was only one attacker responsible for this horrendous event,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush told a media conference.
“That doesn’t mean there weren’t possibly other people in support, and that continues to form a very, very important part of our investigation,” he added.
SHORTEN DEFENDS ‘EGG BOY’
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has defended the young man who cracked an egg over Senator Fraser Anning’s head, saying he “understands where he’s coming from”.
Will Connolly has had more than $40,000 raised for him in donations to an online fundraising campaign following the Sunday event that saw him hit in the face by Senator Anning and pinned to the ground by supporters following the act for which he’s now being praised.
Asked by news.com.au whether the 17-year-old’s actions where worthy of such praise, Mr Shorten defended the teenager.
“He’s not a villain,” he said.
“He’s a frustrated young person looking at the toxic nature of what this man’s saying… I understand where he’s coming from.”
Mr Shorten didn’t completely excuse the egging, saying if one of his own children had done the same, “I’d say that’s not the way to get your view across”.
But he went on to criticise the actions of the men who tackled Mr Collins after incident.
“How many neo-nazi loving thugs does it take to wrestle a 17-year-old?” he said.
“I think the reaction by the goons around the Senator was so over the top, it just actually shows you what we’re dealing with in the fringe elements of Australia.”
Mr Shorten made the comments at a press conference in Perth, where he is has begun a four-day campaigning blitz of the city ahead of the federal election.
He again condemned Senator Anning’s “vile language” following Friday’s terror attack by an Australian in Christchurch.
He also called for a national registry of hate crimes, so that “people can research and see the patterns” in the wake of the attack.
Asked about Senator Anning’s comments, and One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson’s controversial comments on Seven’s Sunrise this morning, Mr Shorten said it wasn’t the time for political point-scoring.
“I think what the Australian people want is some unity in our parliament,” he said.
“They want the leaders of the nation to talk about what the people are feeling and not make short term politics points.
“There is a lot of outrage, a lot of grief.”
— Liz Burke
ACCUSED SHOOTER COULD RETURN TO AUSTRALIA
Australia could be forced to accept Christchurch terrorist Brenton Tarrant if he is found guilty of the murders of 50 worshippers at two mosques on Friday.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne is in “constructive” talks with New Zealand about what to do with the 28-year-old who is originally from NSW.
“The legal proceedings — trial and the adjudication of these horrific crimes — will go through its processes in New Zealand,” she told Sky News.
“If there are questions to be raised after that in relation to the location of anyone who is convicted out of this process, then they would be dealt with according to the normal processes.
“We work within the laws as they stand, we would have those discussions with New Zealand if and when the time comes. And I’m sure we will work with that very constructively together.”
Tarrant is likely to represent himself in proceedings before the High Court, where he is next scheduled to appear on April 5.
The former personal trainer told his duty lawyer he was no longer required, raising fears he could use the platform to broadcast his views about Muslims.
GUN SHOP OWNER DEFENDS STAYING OPEN
The owner of a gun shop that sold four weapons to accused Christchurch mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant has defended keeping the store open.
Gun City owner David Tipple extended his sympathies to the families of the victims of Friday’s shooting that has killed 50 people.
Mr Tipple said the store sold Tarrant four guns and ammunition, and police had been provided with details of the sales.
The semiautomatic gun used in the shooting was not sold to Tarrant by Gun City, Mr Tipple said.
“This tragedy has devastated as all,” Mr Tipple said.
Mr Tipple said Tarrant made his first purchase from the store a month after gaining his gun licence, and his last purchase in March 2018.
He said Tarrant made his purchases online.
During a press conference today, Mr Tipple said he would not answer any questions that turned it into a “gun debate”.
“We didn’t sell him the rifle used in the incident. I watched the video and saw the rifle … and it was not from any Gun City affiliated store,” he said.
However, Mr Tipple said he was not able to verify whether the shotgun used was bought from Gun City.
Mr Tipple labelled the sales to Tarrant as “ordinary”.
“We are not a country of emotional responses. We are a country of laws. What we are doing is legal and the majority of people … are abiding by those laws,” he said.
“This particular day is not about the gun debate. Today let’s talk about how these families are dealing with these tragedies committed by this madman.
‘COWARDLY’ HANSON LASHED FOR HATE SPEECH
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has rejected the accusation that her comments about Muslims in Australia “empower” white supremacists like the one who carried out Friday’s terror attack in New Zealand.
Sunrise host David Koch this morning told Ms Hanson that Brenton Tarrant’s manifesto, which he sent to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern before the attack, “reads like One Nation immigration and Muslim policy”.
“Do you, in any way, feel complicit with this atrocity?” Koch asked. “The anti-Muslim rhetoric that you espouse constantly here, that you did in your maiden speech when you came to parliament. Do you understand?”
Ms Hanson began to offer her sympathies for the 50 people who were murdered during Friday prayers at two Christchurch mosques before turning the conversation back to Muslim immigration.
“I feel for these people,” she said. “I feel for the families that have lost lives … We have problems but you’ve actually got to discuss it and debate the issues. Why do we have terrorist attacks in this country? Why is it happening around the world?”
Koch told her that “most of the terrorist attacks are (carried out by) right-wing white supremacists that are egged on by your comments, by your anti-Muslim comments”.
“(Things like) ‘they don’t deserve to be here’, ‘they will take over our country’. Can you understand how that empowers a white supremacist … into seeing it as a call to arms?”
Ms Hanson then turned the focus to what’s happening in the UK, where she claims Britons have “lost their country”.
“Really, Pauline? That is just tripe,” Koch responded.
Hanson was later called a “coward” by fellow Senator Derryn Hinch after telling the program she would abstain from a vote to censure Senator Fraser Anning over his offensive comments about the mosque shootings.
Senator Anning made a statement on the day of the shootings that was widely condemned by both sides of politics and led to calls for him to resign.
“What is a censure?” Hanson asked Koch after being asked whether she would vote. “It will not prove a damn thing.”
Koch told her the vote is “drawing a line in the sand of humanity and respect”. Senator Hinch told her “it’s cowardly” not to vote.
“You either vote yes or no. (Not voting) shows you approve of what he said.”
RALLY TO BE HELD OVER ANNING’S COMMENTS
More than 3700 Melburnians have expressed interest in attending a rally tomorrow to stand against racism and Islamophobia and to request Senator Fraser Anning resign.
The event will take place at the State Library of Victoria at 5.30pm and be hosted by the Campaign against Racism and Fascism — the same group that protested against white supremacists at St Kilda in January.
The event’s Facebook page features a drawing of a woman in a headscarf holding a sign that reads: “Racist politicians loaded the gun”.
Event organisers say politicians have “created the racist conditions where fascists feel confident and emboldened to carry out unspeakable acts against our Muslim sisters and brothers”.
“Islamophobia, bigotry and hatred has been used to further your interests and divide our communities. You have blood on your hands and we won’t stand for it anymore.
Queensland Senator Fraser Anning is facing calls to stand down after a press release on Friday blamed New Zealand’s policies on Muslim immigration for the acts of terror in Christchurch.
A teenager who broke a raw egg on the politician’s head at a speaking event in Melbourne on Saturday has been hailed a hero for his actions. The 17-year-old was taken away by police but released pending further investigation.
A fundraiser to pay for his legal fees, should he have any, had raised $40,000 by Monday morning and the teen’s Instagram followers climbed from 5000 to 450,000 after Saturday night.
POLICE DEFEND ‘36-MINUTE’ RESPONSE
New Zealand Police have been forced to defend their handling of Friday’s terror attack after criticism that it took them too long to respond.
Accused mass killer Brenton Tarrant sent a vile manifesto to email addresses belonging to prominent New Zealanders, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in the minutes before his murderous rampage left 50 people dead.
In a statement, New Zealand Police shut down any notion they did not respond swiftly enough, revealing it took the first officers just six minutes to arrive on scene after the first distressing phone call was received.
“There has been some speculation around the police response times to the first attack on Deans Ave on Friday,” a spokesman wrote.
“To clarify, police received its first 111 call at 1.41pm. The first armed police unit was on scene at 1.47pm. That’s six minutes to respond.”
He said Tarrant was arrested within 36 minutes.
“I am very proud of the police response to this terrible attack.”
FAMILY ‘GOBSMACKED’ BY ALLEGED MURDERS
Relatives of the accused are devastated their own family member could be responsible for a massacre.
Brenton Tarrant’s grandmother, Marie Fitzgerald, said the family was gobsmacked he’d been charged with murdering Muslims at mosques in Christchurch.
“It’s just so much of everything to take in that somebody in our family would do anything like this,” the 81-year-old told Nine News in the NSW city of Grafton on Sunday.
“The media is saying he has planned it for a long time so he is obviously not of sound mind.” Tarrant reportedly travelled to Europe after his father died of cancer in 2010 and came back a different man, Mrs Fitzgerald said.
“It’s only since he travelled overseas I think, that that boy has changed completely to the boy we knew,” she said.
His uncle, Terry Fitzgerald, apologised on behalf of the family for his nephew’s alleged murderous act.
“We are so sorry for the families over there, for the dead and the injured,” Terry Fitzgerald said.
“What he has done is just not right.” Tarrant spent most of his time on computer games during his high school days rather than chasing girls, his grandmother added.
The family had dinner with Tarrant 12 months ago for his sister’s birthday in Grafton.
His sister and mother have been placed under police protection after Friday’s attack.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE ATTACKS
BODIES BEING RELEASED SLOWLY
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the bodies of the 50 people killed in Friday’s mosque attacks were slowly being released to family members.
Ardern says only a small number of bodies will be released initially, and that authorities hope to release all the bodies by Wednesday.
Islamic law calls for bodies to be cleansed and buried as soon as possible after death, usually within 24 hours.
Anguished relatives have been anxiously waiting for authorities to release the remains.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush says they are working as quickly as they can, but authorities have to be absolutely clear on the causes of death and confirm identities before they can release bodies.
A fund set up to help the families of victims killed in the mosque attacks along with those who suffered injuries has raised over $NZ4.3 million ($4.15 million).
The page, on the site givealittle, was created by a council of victim support groups.
The council said it had been overwhelmed with the number of donations, which were more than it thought possible, and it would need to create a formal process to distribute the money.
The group said all the money would go directly to victims and their families, and that some would need it for bills, while others might need it for support services.
Ms Ardern reiterated her promise that there will be changes to the country’s gun laws in the wake of a terrorist attack on two mosques and said her cabinet will discuss the policy details on Monday.
At a Sunday news conference, she used some of her strongest language yet about gun control, saying that laws need to change and “they will change”.
New Zealand has fewer restrictions on rifles or shotguns than many countries, while handguns are more tightly controlled.
— with NZ Herald, AAP, AP and wires