Government accepts all Royal Commission recommendations

Prime Minister

The Government has agreed in principle to implement all 44 recommendations contained in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Terror Attack on Christchurch masjidain.

The independent Royal Commission was set up to investigate what State Sector agencies knew about the terrorist’s activities before the attack, measures agencies could have taken to prevent the attack, and measures agencies should take to prevent such attacks in the future.

“The Royal Commission found no failures within any Government agencies that would have allowed the individual’s planning and preparation to have been detected but did identify many lessons to be learnt and significant areas needing change,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“For many years, the Muslim community has raised concerns over issues like the disproportionate scrutiny by security and intelligence agencies. This report confirms there was an “inappropriate concentration of resources”. It also identifies failings within the firearms licensing system.

“The Commission made no findings that these issues would have stopped the attack. But these were both failings nonetheless and for that I apologise.

“In addition, the report also discusses a permissive firearms regime that persisted for decades for which we must also take responsibility and which we have now changed.

“Going forward, we need to ensure an adequate focus of resources on the range of threats New Zealand faces and enhance our security and intelligence, and social cohesion work accordingly.

“You, and others, have made New Zealand your home. You, and every New Zealander, deserve a system that does its best to keep you safe.

“Terrorism aims to shake our beliefs and divide us. Instead, New Zealand responded to the events of March 15 with compassion, empathy and solidarity. I hope we remain united as we start to implement the recommendations of this inquiry to build a safer and more connected country.

“I thank the Royal Commission for its thorough work. The Government accepts the findings of its report and agrees in principle to the 44 recommendations. Our response to these will help strengthen New Zealand’s Counter-Terrorism system as well as enhance cohesion across our varied communities.

“Implementing some of the recommendations will require further consideration, but we want to act quickly where we can so today I am announcing a number of initiatives:

  • Andrew Little will be placed in charge of coordinating the Government response to the report and implementation of recommendations
  • A Ministry for Ethnic Communities established to support and strengthen the work programme on social cohesion
  • Establishing Te Raranga, The Weave, to drive improvements in frontline Police practice to identify, record, and manage hate crime, and deliver a service that is more responsive to victims
  • Extending the Safer Communities Fund to enable communities at risk of hate crime and terrorism to upgrade their security arrangements
  • Creation of an Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme in the public service
  • Establishment of a National Centre of Excellence which brings together academia, civil society and government to research radicalisation and violent extremism and social cohesion in New Zealand
  • Amend the Terrorism Suppression Act to strengthen Counter-Terrorism legislation
  • Creation of an early intervention programme, led by New Zealand Police, to develop wrap-around support for individuals who are showing early indicators of radicalisation
  • Continue to work on accession to the Budapest Convention on cybercrime

A multi-agency Response Steering Group has been set up to provide a Response Report to Government in the first quarter of 2021 that will include an Implementation Roadmap for the report’s recommendations.

“We will work with community and interest groups across New Zealand as we implement the Royal Commission. We all have a role to play in ensuring an event like March 15 never happens again.

“My final words are for the Muslim community. Thank you for the part you have played in ensuring this Royal Commission was comprehensive and contains practical actions that can now be put in place,” Jacinda Ardern said.