Royal commission will probe New Zealand mosque massacre

26 Mar 19

New Zealand is launching a royal commission to investigate the 15 March attack on two mosques in Christchurch in which 50 people were killed.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced the publicly funded inquiry, which will consider whether security agencies missed clues to the attack.

The commission will also investigate the role played by social media in the incident – which was live-streamed by the alleged attacker – and the suspect’s ability to obtain a weapon.

“It is 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,” Ardern told reporters in Wellington, Reuters reported.

A suspected white supremacist has been charged with murder over the shootings at the Al-Noor mosque and is due to appear in court on 5 April. 

Ardern said a royal commission was the appropriate response to the attack but declined to give a timeframe while her government finalised the inquiry’s terms of reference, which have yet to be announced

The decision was welcomed by members of New Zealand’s Muslim community.

“I hope that it will be an inclusive inquiry and that an opportunity will be provided to the Muslim community to feed into the terms of reference,” said Guled Mire, a Muslim community advocate.

“It’s important we get this right so we can learn from past mistakes.”

Royal commissions are independent inquiries usually reserved for matters of great public importance.

A Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care was launched by New Zealand’s government in 2018 to investigate how institutions responded to allegations of historical abuse in state care between 1950 and 2000.


  • Gavin O'Toole, expert on Latin America
    Gavin O'Toole

    A freelance journalist. He has written six books about Latin America and taught the politics of the region at Queen Mary, University of London.

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