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MEDIA STATEMENT: Royal Commission Of Inquiry Into The Attack On Christchurch Mosques On 15 March 2019

The Royal Commission’s 792 page report was today presented to Governor-General, the Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy.

The title of the report is Ko tō tātou kāinga tēnei: Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019.

Ko tō tātou kāinga tēnei means “this is our home”. This title represents an inclusive New Zealand, welcoming of people of all ethnicities and backgrounds.

The Inquiries Act 2013 sets out that the next step is for the appropriate minister (in this instance the Minister of Internal Affairs) to present the report to the House of Representatives as soon as practicable.

The Royal Commission has written the report so that it can be made available to the public, in full, without the need for redaction.

Commissioners particularly want to acknowledge those who lost their lives, their whānau, and the survivors and witnesses of the terrorist attack and their whānau.

“Having completed 18 months of intense inquiry, engagement and analysis, we urge the Government to consider the findings and act on the recommendations,” says Commissioner Sir William Young.

“We were privileged to spend time with and hear from many whānau directly affected by the terrorist attack. We received the guidance and wisdom from the 37 members of our Muslim Community Reference Group and met with many Muslim community groups during the course of the inquiry. The insights and understanding we have gained have been invaluable and we are grateful,” said Commissioner Jacqui Caine.

During the course of the Royal Commission:

· 400+ meetings and interviews were conducted;

· 47 summonses were issued requiring attendance for interview;

· 340 non-disclosure orders were made under section 15 of the Inquiries Act 2013;

· 73,500 pages of evidence and submissions were received and analysed;

· 75+ community organisations engaged with the Royal Commission;

· 30 experts and academics engaged with the Royal Commission;

· 217 Public sector agencies were asked to provide information; and

· Commissioners met with international experts and officials in England, Norway and Australia and spoke with international experts and officials from other jurisdictions.

More than eleven hundred people wrote submissions and many more contacted the Royal Commission to share their thoughts, concerns, experiences, and suggestions.

“We sincerely thank all those who have made valuable contributions to the inquiry through submissions, formal interviews, hui, written evidence or expertise,” says Commissioner Sir William Young.

Evidence has included information from the community, reports and reviews, Cabinet papers, ministerial briefings, interview transcripts, meeting notes, email records, police statements, audio recordings, financial reconstructions, credit card transactions, medical assessments, social media reports, information used by international media outlets, maps, photographs, videos, media reports, physical evidence, international partner information and phone records.

A substantial amount of classified information was received (Restricted, Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret), so the Royal Commission undertook a process, with the assistance of intelligence and security agencies, to ensure it could include relevant material in the report without damaging New Zealand’s national security interests. This process did not alter the substance of the report.

In addition to the report Ko tō tātou kāinga tēnei: Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019, the Royal Commission has created four companion publications:

  • What we heard from affected whānau, survivors and witnesses records what the Royal Commission heard from those most affected by the terrorist attack.
  • Summary of Submissions reviews the comments, insights and themes of 1,168 submissions.
  • Muslim Community Reference Group: Lessons for the future incorporates insights gained through the establishment of, and working with, the Muslim Community Reference Group.
  • Hate speech and hate crime related legislation expands on material in our report to further outline the concepts of hate speech and hate crime, New Zealand’s current laws and proposes legislative changes.

The report and companion products will be published on the Royal Commission website when the Government authorises the release of the report (www.christchurchroyalcommission.nz).

“It has been an honour and privilege to undertake this Inquiry. Our hope is that this report not only provides answers, but also impetus for change and conversations about the kind of country we want to be. We are grateful to all the people who shared their experiences and wisdom with us, in meetings and submissions.” say Commissioners Sir William Young and Jacqui Caine.

The two members of the Royal Commission, Sir William Young and Jacqui Caine have now concluded their work.

A Minute comprehensively explaining the status of and access to the records of the Royal Commission has been issued.

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