Jacinda Ardern Announces A Royal Commission Into The Christchurch Terror Attack

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced there will be a royal commission into how and why the Christchurch terror attack was able to happen.

Ardern told media on Monday afternoon that the royal commission would focus on the nation’s intelligence agencies, looking at events leading up to the attack and not the immediate response from emergency services. “That is work I think needs to be done,” she said, “but we will do that separately.”

Ardern said the key question that needed to be answered was whether or not the nation’s intelligence agencies “could or should have known more.”

“New Zealand is not a surveillance state,” she said.

But questions of course need to be answered around whether or not this was the activities of an individual that we could or should hav known about and the agencies themselves are welcoming independent oversight and investigation into that very question.

The royal commission would be an independent inquiry and while the Prime Minister did not give an exact date on when it would be published she did say the government “wants it to be timely.” 

Asked about the response from social media platforms, Ardern said it was unacceptable that video from that attack was still available online.

“This is widely known amongst social media leadership, our views on the matter,” she said.

“The question generally across all of these platforms is what can we put in place or have assurances around ensuring that this doesn’t happen again.”

Many social media platforms rely partly on automated removal of distressing content, a process Ardern said she didn’t think was an effective way of managing it.

“We want them to be more proactive,” she said.