New Zealand mosque terror attacks: Live updates

 edition.cnn.com  3/18/2019 12:56:00 PM  31

15 min ago

From CNN's Susannah Cullinane, Madeline Holcombe and Jack Guy

New Zealand's government has agreed to reform the country's gun laws in the wake of last Friday's massacre at two mosques, in which 50 people were killed, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed.

Ardern said that the "worst act of terrorism on our shores" had exposed a range of weaknesses in New Zealand's gun laws.

Speaking after her weekly cabinet meeting Monday evening local time, Ardern told reporters that ministers had agreed "in principle" to reform gun laws.

"Within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer," she said.

52 min ago

New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says he discussed the use of the video from Friday’s attack with Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

When asked by reporters if it was acceptable for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to show parts of the video, Peters said this:

“I made it very clear to Vice-President Oktay and Çavuşoğlu who is their Foreign Minister just last night that anything of that nature that misrepresents this country – given that this was a non-New Zealand citizen – imperils the future and safety of the New Zealand people and our people abroad and it's totally unfair. In short we made it very clear that we oppose terrorism in whatever shape and form it might be and that we are for a free and open society. We had a long dialogue on the need for any other country, or Turkey for that matter, to ensure that our country, New Zealand, was not misrepresented. We did not start or bring about this disaster and they clearly understood that.”
5 hr 24 min ago

Two homes raided on Monday morning by Australia's Joint Counter Terrorism Force belong to the accused Christchurch shooter's family members, CNN affiliate Australia's Seven News said.

Police executed search warrants at the homes of 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant's mother and his sister, in northeastern New South Wales.

The raids were part of the ongoing investigation into the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, which killed 50 people.

Tarrant has been charged with murder over the shootings.

5 hr 40 min ago

From CNN's Jo Shelley

A 28-year-old man Australian man accused of the murder of 50 people in Christchurch on Friday doesn’t want a lawyer, according to the attorney temporarily assigned to him on the day of his arrest.

Duty lawyer Richard Peters told CNN that Brenton Tarrant had twice made it clear that he did not want legal representation. 

Peters, assigned by Christchurch District Court to assist Tarrant in preliminary court appearances, said that the defendant hopes to represent himself.

Tarrant is due to appear in court again on April 5. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she expects additional charges to be laid against him.

6 hr 24 min ago

From CNN's Hilary Whiteman in Christchurch

Indian nationals Abdul Nazer, 34, and his wife, Ansi Alibava, 25, were both inside the Al Noor mosque on Friday -- men sat on the left, women on the right -- when the first shots were fired in one of New Zealand's worst mass shootings.  

Originally from Kerela, the young couple had borrowed money to move to Christchurch last year, so she could complete her postgraduate studies.

When Alibava graduated, they hoped she'd get a high-paying job and they would live and work in New Zealand, before returning back home to India to settle down.

Friday's mass shootings changed those plans forever.

Alibava was one of the 50 people killed in Friday's attacks -- and now her husband is raising money to help repatriate her body back to India.

You can read more about Nazer and Alibava here.

7 hr 13 min ago

A single gunman carried out the killing of 50 people at two mosques on Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand Police said on Monday.

 "We believe that there was only one attacker responsible for this horrendous event,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush told a press conference in the capital Wellington.

 “There were 2 scenes, as you know, again I’d like to state that we believe absolutely there was only one attacker responsible for this.”

 Bush added that police have not ruled out the possibility that others could have helped prepare the lone attacker ahead of the shooting.

Australian national, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, has been arrested and charged with one count of murder, with further counts expected to be laid.

7 hr 15 min ago

Auckland-based journalist Susannah Cullinane has described how New Zealand is struggling to find its "new normal" in the wake of Friday's massacre.

Life is normal and yet so very, very abnormal. It feels wrong to celebrate anything, but equally wrong to let a gunman take any more joy from the world than he has already.

You can read more from Cullinane, a former CNN staffer who returned to her native New Zealand after several years in London, here.

8 hr 13 min ago

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has thrown his support behind new, unspecified gun control measures agreed to by the country's cabinet Monday, in an apparent break with his previous stance on the issue.

Speaking alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Peters explained that "the reality is after the 15 March, our world changed forever, and so will our laws."

New Zealand First is part of the ruling coalition along with Ardern's Labour Party. It's the third-largest political party in the country and leans to the right on many issues, including immigration.

After the 2016 massacre at a nightclub in Orlando, Peters said those in the United States who blamed the attack on a lack of gun control were wrong. However, he did not explicitly say he was opposed to gun control at the time, but rather said some were taking a "politically correct" position and were "seeking to divert blame from where it should lie."

This is what he said:

"We in New Zealand First are opposed to religious extremism in any form, and this atrocity resulted from Islamic extremism by a terrorist whose family had sought shelter in the United States. There are those who will take the politically correct view and blame it all on a lack of gun control. They are wrong. They have been misled. They are seeking to divert blame from where it should lie because this terrorist could have used any weapon of destruction -- a bomb, an improvised device, a method of mass poisoning -- and blaming a lack of gun control in this way is seen, in our view, as simply a cop-out. 
7 hr 42 min ago

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her cabinet has agreed "in principle" on proposals to change the country's gun laws in response to the terror attack in Christchurch Friday, but she stopped short of revealing what those changes might be.

Ardern said more details will be released once her cabinet "has worked through through the in-principle decision" made today.

Appearing beside New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, Ardern told reporters at a news conference Monday that the cabinet was "absolutely united" in its decision.

"This was a cabinet decision," said Peters. New Zealand First is part of the ruling coalition along with Ardern's Labour Party.

"The reality is after the 15 March, our world changed forever, and so will our laws," Peters said.

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