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New Zealand Prime Minister announces investigation of royal commission for Christchurch attack



WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday a royal commission, a powerful form of public inquiry, on the events that led to an attack on two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, the 50th People were killed.

"It is important that no stone is turned upside down to find out how this act of terrorism took place and what options we have to stop it," Ardern told reporters in the parliament building in Wellington.

A suspected white Supremacist has been charged with murder for shooting at Christchurch and will appear in court next April 5. Ardern said the man did not see a list in New Zealand or Australia.

She said that a key focus of the investigation was whether the security authorities focused their attention on the right questions and whether there was any evidence.

This includes the role of social media and the suspect's ability to obtain a weapon, Ardern said.

The exact terms for the Royal Commission have not yet been announced, but Ardern's decision to initiate such an investigation was welcomed by members of the Muslim community in New Zealand.

"The announcement of an inquiry is a great call and the right one. I hope it is a comprehensive investigation and gives the Muslim community the opportunity to get involved in the terms of the treaty, "said Muslim advocate Guled Mire.

"It is important that we do this right so that we can learn from past mistakes," he said.

Royal commissions are independent investigations and are usually reserved for matters of greatest public importance. Ardern said such an investigation was an appropriate response to the attack, but rejected a timeframe while her government mandated.

Rhys Ball, Massey University's security and defense analyst, who previously worked for New Zealand's intelligence agency, said the investigation should include agencies such as customs, police and immigration.

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"I know that right-wing extremism has always been considered a potential problem and has been monitored and investigated from time to time," Ball said.

"There may be some mistakes Things have been missed, but it is only fair that you apply this test to all the authorities involved, "he said.

Ball said the United States and Australia had carried out similarly far-reaching investigations after the attacks.

Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield and Praveen Menon; Editing by Paul Tait

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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