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Royal Commission Report

IWCNZ maintains that justice has not been served by the report published by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Terrorist Attacks on the Christchurch Mosques. This is due to the way the Terms of Reference were defined, which severely restricted the review of evidence by the Commission. There was a lack of transparency under the guise of confidentiality and national security.

There are multiple areas of evidence that have not been investigated, and questions raised by IWCNZ have been ignored. For example, it was reported by Radio New Zealand and confirmed by the Commissioners that there was a training exercise on that day in Christchurch that included specialist staff and the NZ Defence Force with Australian and Hong Kong Police in attendance. This would indicate that it was not just another ordinary mild autumn Friday in Christchurch (paragraph 4, page 20, volume 1). In fact, the two officers who apprehended the terrorist had learned their manoeuvres that morning.

In relation to the threat received on 20 February 2019 via Facebook referencing 15 March 2019, we did not only ask the Commissioners if the two individuals were connected. We also asked what was occurring in New Zealand that another person would issue threats on the same date and put his location as Christchurch (even though he was apparently located in the Waikato). Also, we asked to find out what the Police had done regarding the threat, and had they been mobilised in Hamilton or in Christchurch on that day.

We find it concerning that the Commissioners found systemic failures and an inappropriate concentration of resources towards Islamic terrorism, and yet state that these would not have made a difference to the terrorist being detected prior to the event. It is difficult to see why they would recommend changes throughout the report, if such changes would have had no impact in this particular case.

There are significant other concerns related to this report. Given we haven’t had adequate time to fully read and process the report, our first impression from these few examples (and many others not listed here) is that those who lost loved ones on the day should request and receive a full vetting of these matters through a coroner’s inquest. For those families directly impacted, and in the public interest of New Zealand, there must be open and transparent hearings.

We have found it to be an emotional and difficult time going through this report. We do see value in the social cohesion aspects of the report, and had these measures been in place, white supremacy may have been prioritised two years prior to the attacks.

Related to the security and Police matters, we still need to process and consider all the implications for our community and the wider community in New Zealand. We have not yet had adequate time to do so.

A final concern is that the families who lost loved ones in the attack have not been fully informed of their legal rights and options. We note that there is a significant imbalance in the legal resources available to state agencies and their representatives, as compared to families, many of whom are still dealing with their loss and are struggling financially.

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