New Zealand PM Ardern orders top-level judicial inquiry into Christchurch mosque attacks

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More than NZ$10.8 million ($7.4 million) in public donations has been received so far to help families of the 50 people killed in New Zealand's mosque shootings, according to a pair of fund-raising websites.

Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian white supremacist, was arrested within minutes of the massacre and has been charged with murder.

People were asking how the attack was able to take place, including how the alleged gunman obtained the weapons, the role of social media and the role of agencies, she said.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ordered a top-level inquiry into the Christchurch mosque attacks that left 50 people dead.

Royal commissions were reserved for the gravest of events and the shootings was one of those, she said.

Ardern said such an inquiry was an appropriate response to the attack but declined to give a timeframe while her government finalised the terms of reference. Ms Ardern has ruled out re-introducing the death penalty for the trial.

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Peters said OIC members were full of praise for the support New Zealand had offered its small, tight-knit Muslim community in the wake of the killings.

"There will be a focus on whether our intelligence community was concentrating its resources appropriately and whether there were any reports that could, or should, have alerted them to this attack", Ardern said.

Massey University security and defence analyst Rhys Ball, who formerly worked for New Zealand's intelligence service, said the inquiry should include agencies such as customs, police and immigration. "One question we need to answer is whether or not we could or should have known more", she said.

The royal commission will look at his travel to and from New Zealand, internationally, his activities in New Zealand, his use of social media and his connection to others.

Zaed Moustafa (in wheelchair), the son of Hussein Mohamed Khalil Moustafa, a victim of the mosque attacks, attends Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. He's due to return to court on April 5.

Last week, PM Jacinda Ardern moved swiftly to ban the military-style rifles used in the Christchurch attack.