Return to Transcripts main page


New Zealand Terror Attack; New Zealand Massacre Suspect Appears In Court; Suspect's Purported Manifesto Has White Supremacist Ideology; Police Say, 49 Dead In Attacks On New Zealand Mosque; New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Holds News Conference. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 15, 2019 - 22:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, I'm Rosemary Church. And we are following breaking news in New Zealand, the man suspected of killing 49 people during Friday prayers and wounding dozens more has appeared in court for the first time, 28 year-old Brenton Tarrant remains silent as he was charged with murder and remanded in custody until his next court appearance in April, here's how he's court appearance unfolded just a short time ago.


PAUL KELLAR, DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: You are Brenton Harrison Tarrant. Mr. Tarrant, you are remanded without plea, your appearance will be in the Christchurch high court of Friday 2019, its 9:15 a.m. I have noted that you're not making an application to be (inaudible). That you are not making any application for suppression of publication of your name or of any particular that could lead to your identification.

I do however make an interim order until the day of the next appearance suppressing publication of the name of the named victim or anything that could lead to that person's identification. That interim order is made on the grounds that otherwise could have undue hardship to the family. On that basis, Mr. Tarrant, you are remanded in custody until five April 2019.

Stand on custody.


CHURCH: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says he had a gun license and she is already vowing reforms.


JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER OF NEW ZEALAND: While work is being done as to the chain of events that lead to both the holding of this gun license and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now, our gun laws will change.

There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012, and after an inquiry in 2017, now is the time for a change. The mere fact, when people of course here, that the end of the (inaudible) was acquired gun license and acquired weapons of that range then obviously I think people will be seeking change and I'm committing to that.


CHURCH: And CNN Alexandra Field is outside the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, she joins us now live. So, Alex, it has to be said, this tragedy has shocked the nation unaccustomed to mass shootings like this and that is exactly why the Australian suspect did this in New Zealand. What's being said about that very point and how are people coping with this heinous crime?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's been said that he came here to spread hate. He was not from this community, but certainly he now stands accused of terrorizing and Rosemary, he's silence in court sending in such profound contrast to the sounds of terror that people report hearing just down the street here just a day ago. You had witnesses, who said they heard gunshots for 10 or 15 minutes.

The police lines remain up here. We've seen horses going in, heading towards that mosque a day later. There are police who are still out here on high alert, and of course, you cannot ignore the site that's formed behind me, this heap of flowers, a sign above them that reads this is not New Zealand and that is really what we've heard people who have come out here say over and over again.

Rosemary, they look at you with shock, with sadness, with tears in their eyes. They say that this is a global problem that has now reached their shores, some people have talk missing that this is a problem that their children will now inherit. Yes, you hear them say it over and over again. They did not imagine it here, this is again not someone who was from here.

He is a 28-year-old Australian man. You heard the Prime Minister talking about this as somebody who has spent time in an out of New Zealand, but he was not a part of this community. What he has done in this community, what he has accused of doing this community is something that has forever changed this place and it is what people are here to talk about today. More importantly though, Rosemary, they are remembering the lives that were lost just down the street inside that mosque.

CHURCH: Yes. That is the most important thing to tribute, tributes to those lost indeed. And I do want to ask you though, what more we are learning about the suspect, he appeared in court and also these two other suspects, what more are you hearing about them?

[22:05:14] FIELD: He did appear in court in just a single charge of murder, of course, that bares with a maximum penalty of life in prison, but this is the beginning of the charges that this 28-year-old Australian will face, we've already heard from authorities that he will certainly be facing more charges. They initially arrested four people, two other people remain in custody. Investigators are looking to see if they have any direct links to what happened here yesterday or not.

The focus, of course, though, on the man who was in court today. He was arrested after the shootings in those two mosque. We are learning a little more about how that arrest happened from the police. Listen to this.


MIKE BUSH, NEW ZEALAND POLICE COMMISIONER: That person was not willing to be arrested. Again, I think you've probably seen some of that live video, there was live audio coming back to my command center in Wellington of that apprehension. And I can tell you as I was listening to that, the person was noncompliant. We also believe that not only were there IED's in that vehicle which is a very dangerous maneuver, there are also firearms in that vehicle. So we have staff who are well equipped and did engage with that person and again put themselves in real danger to keep the community safe from further harm.


FIELD: Officers going on to say that they are not actively looking for additional suspects, but certainly, Rosemary, this is a city that remains on high alert. Again, you still got the police tape up around one of the crime scenes here. We've see officers in the streets holding their weapons, it is a sight terribly unfamiliar in this place and again one that just will not be forgotten.

CHURCH: Yes, it is not a gun toting nation. It is nothing like what we are used to seeing in the United States. This is unfamiliar territory for those people in New Zealand and as you pointed out, life has changed for them forever. Alex Field reporting from Christchurch, New Zealand. Many thanks.

Well, many in New Zealand are wondering why the government targeted their peaceful country. The mayor of Christchurch spoke to the reporters, Friday.


LIANNE DALZIEL, MAYOR OF CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND: This sort of extremism is not something that we've seen here. That he is not from here. He came here, he came here with hate in his heart and intention to kill in his mind. So, he did not develop his hatred here, he came here to perform this act of terrorism.


CHURCH: A New Zealand's Prime Minister also said that law enforcement authorities are wary of extremists, but said this suspects were not on their watch lists. Listen.


ARDERN: I want to be very clear though, that our intelligence community and police are focused on extremism of every kind. Given global indicators around far right extremism, our intelligence community has been stepping up their investigations in this area. The individual charged with murder had not come to the attention of the intelligence community, nor the police, for extremism.


CHURCH: All right, I want to have more now on that manifesto filled with hateful white nationalist rhetoric. And the Southern Poverty Law Center base in the U.S. said the attacker had graffiti on his weapons, slogans linked to white supremacy. Senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, takes a closer look.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is titled the great replacement, 87 pages. More than 16,000 words. Not rambling, but a spell checked, referenced, dissertation on a hate field view of immigrants, immigration, and Muslims. Unsigned, it is the killer's explanation for why he did this.

ARDERN: These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand, and in fact, have no place in the world.

GRIFFIN: The manifesto was posted online by this man under the name Brenton Tarrant, CNN has not yet confirm that this is his real name. But there is no doubt the 28 year-old under arrest is a white supremacist, who believes in his own white European race is being wiped out by immigration, labeling it white genocide.

It is also the universal rally cry of hate filled white supremacist across the world. In Charlottesville, Virginia, the neo-Nazi cry was --

CROWD: Jews are not (inaudible).

GRIFFIN: In Warsaw, Poland, in 2017, some marchers in an Independence Day demonstration carried banners that read white Europe and clean blood.

[22:10:07] In 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina, a white teenager named Dylan Roof, murdered nine African Americans in a church. The white supremacist reportedly said, you all are raping our white women, you all are taking over the world as he guns down unarmed parishioners.

The rhetoric is old, but new technology has allowed these messages of hate to be spread in real-time across the globe. The New Zealand killer streamed parts of his attack live on Facebook. The video spread to YouTube, Twitter, News Sites, before police pleaded for it to stop.

BUSH: I have seen social media footage, it is very disturbing and it should not be in the public. We are doing everything we can to remove it. GRIFFIN: But hours after the attack, copies of the gruesome videos

still continued to appear, shared by social media users. While police will not discuss motive, the suspect refers to Dylan Roof, and writes, he was inspired by white supremacists under his private (ph) who killed 77 people in Norway, eight year ago. He does try to explain his own breaking point came in 2017, the French presidential election of what he describes as an anti-white ex-banker. And the terror related death of an 11 year old Swedish girl rundown by a Muslim terrorist in a stolen truck in Stockholm. A crime he writes, he could no longer ignore.


CHURCH: And all these leaves people wondering, what more can the security community do to prevent attacks like this? To help answer that, I'm joined now by Steve Moore, a retired FBI's supervisor and special agent, and CNN law enforcement contributor. Good to have you with us again, Steve.


CHURCH: And of course, as a former FBI special agent, looking at the details that we know so far, what would authorities be doing right now to try to figure all of this now and to stop anything like this from happening again? Because that would be the goal.

MOORE: Right and I investigated for a decade white supremacist, far- right wing nationalist, and what they do is they communicate -- it used to be that they communicated via short wave radio, or radio broadcasts, listen to the dogma. Now it is gotten into the internet, and its e-mails back and forth. You have to go into that electronic footprint, you have to find out who this person was listening to, what motivated them, who weaponized them in a way. What was the source of their dissatisfaction and their violence?

And so, you're going to be going through all of this at the same time you are trying to look at how do we miss the fact -- I mean, in New Zealand, you can't have a rifle like that without going through some kind of background investigation. How was that miss? I understand, maybe he was not on the radar, but, you know, you don't get a rifle like that in New Zealand without being looked at.

So, there's sorts of things and New Zealand police are great at what they do, I'm not criticizing that, I'm just saying, we have to learn and every individual country has to learn how to find the indicators, and what to look for.

CHURCH: Yes. And I want to follow up on that, because, I want to ask you how it was possible for this shooter to kill so many people in such little time. Was the police response timely enough in your view here? I mean, we don't want to avoid the fact that -- at the end when they got this guy and he resisted arrested, they did a fine job, but did it take too long?

MOORE: The officers who responded and arrested this man were heroic in their actions. I'm not disputing that, but one of the things about New Zealand's peacefulness, is that they don't expect this to happen. And the problem is, it will.

I mean, it's like my home is peaceful, but I still lock my doors, because other people may come in from outside. And so, I think that they have to understand as a society that even though they may be peaceful, others are not. And you have to have a robust response, because as we found out sadly in the United States, every minute, a shooter is left on confronted, one person dies, but this shooter was much more horribly effective than that.

CHURCH: Yes, I mean, that piece in New Zealand has now been shattered by this, it will never be the same. I want to ask you about those two other suspects that have been charged, we don't know very much about them, but we do know at this point that the 28-year-old Australian suspect, Brenton Tarrant, posted a manifesto that said that he did this alone. What do you make of that and the possible role of these two other suspects?

MOORE: Well, as an investigator, the first thing I'm going to look at is the fact that this was such a well-planned, and I hate to call it that, but it was a well-planned attack.

[22:15:05] He had IED's, he had weapons -- this is hard to do on your own. And it is hard to do from a psychological point of view. You want somebody to be egging you on, rooting you on, giving you moral support. I would suspect that there are people he knew, local, and possibly these two, who supported him either emotionally, financially, or physically in this act.

And so as an investigator, not only can I not rule out that there are accomplices, I have to assume that unless I can prove they aren't, that they are probably are based on the nature of the crime.

CHURCH: Steve Moore, we always appreciate your expertise. Thank you so much.

MOORE: Thank you.

CHURCH: While all of New Zealand is mourning the victims of the mosque shooting. People of all ages, races, and religions are grieving together. Coming up, we will hear from the country's former Prime Minister about how hates has no place in New Zealand.


CHURCH: The latest now on the massacre in New Zealand, the man suspected of killing 49 people in two mosques in Christchurch appeared in court, Saturday. 28 year-old Brenton Tarrant remains silent as he was charged with murder and remanded in custody until he's next court appearance in April.

[22:20:06] Tarrant's face is blurred due to court restrictions. Police say, Tarrant was taken into custody, 36 minutes after the first call came in about shots fired and he did resist arrest, two other people are also in custody. Police are trying to determine if they were directly involved in the massacre.

What made this whole incident even more horrible was the fact it was being live streamed from the body cam of one of the attackers. Now, we are following the lead of the New Zealand Prime Minister and urging people not to watch and share copies of the video. It only gives the killers the platform they want, but our correspondent Anna Coren did watch the video, as part of her job and this is what she saw.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He starts in his car, he drives to the mosque, the car -- their playing music, he parks, you can see all these semi-automatic weapons in the passenger seat. He then goes to the booth, he opens it , you can see magazines, you can see more -- more guns, Gerry cans in which you presume was filled with fuel, he walks slowly to the gates of the mosques and he walks in, he starts firing, he gets to the front door, continues to fire, mowing down anybody in he's path.

You can hear this people who are there for Friday prayers, they are screaming, they are moaning, calling out for help and he is not flinching, he is continuing to execute these people. You see them falling slumping to the ground.

He reloads in the car door, the killing spree continues for a few moments he then walks out on to the pavement and obviously by the stage people have heard this rapid gunfire which is never heard of in Christchurch, in New Zealand.

And he then starts picking up people on the pavement, these bystanders. He goes back to the car, reloads, walks back into the mosque, the killing spree continues.

And this is the part that is just chilling, there are these bodies slump on the ground, dozens of them and he goes up to each of those bodies at point blank range and executes every single one of them. So, even if these people were playing dead or hiding, there was no chance of them ever getting out of this place alive.

He walks out slowly, methodically, he is not in a rush, he sees a woman on the pavement, she standing there, he shoots her from a distance, walks up to her and then shoots her in the head, he then gets back into his car music blaring you can hear him talking, he is laughing at some stage. He starts firing out of the windscreen, out the passenger window indiscriminately shooting at bystanders and what is so bizarre is that he then gets to a pedestrian crossing and there are these people walking past and he stops for them. And then drives on, drive on to what we assume was the next location, that second mosque were even more people were killed.

CHURCH: A horrifying account there from our Anna Coren. Well, politicians are calling on social media to do more to stop extremism on these sites. Facebook, for its part it says, it polices their platforms, but video from the New Zealand shooter's helmet cam, that remained online nearly 18 hours before they pulled it down. Samuel Burke has more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is truly a vicious cycle not only was the attacker influenced by social media evident from the manifesto he link to on Twitter, the fact that a body camera was used to broadcast live on Facebook shows that social media was a part of the attackers planning.

Now, Facebook says it quickly took down the original video, we don't know if quickly meant during the 17 minutes that was broadcast live on Facebook or if it was a long time after the video was already available for many to see. Plus, many, many hours after the attack, the video could still be found on major social media platforms.

In fact it was shared by a Twitter account with nearly 700,000 followers. Now, you'll hear people say don't share the video online, but even just watching it spreads the recording on the internet, that is because algorithms count how many people are watching and then show it to more and more users.

And it is troubling that some TV news outlets even show the raw video and that confuses the algorithms which should be automatically taking the video down once it's flagged, that is because when it sees logos and news graphics from a media organization, that tells the algorithms that this is something that could be journalistically sound, so then we have to wait for a human moderator to come down and take the video away.

Now, if you look at this Facebook page, posted long after the attack, it warns about graphic content, but simply has a video, but in that says uncovered to click and see it. For its part, Facebook says quote, New Zealand police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commence and we quickly removed both the shooters Facebook and Instagram account and the video.

[22:25:03] We are also removing any phrase or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters, as soon we are aware. Clearly not fast enough on platform with billions of users and billions in revenue. I'm Samuel Burke, back to you.


CHURCH: Thanks for that Samuel and New Zealand is a small country with a population of fewer than 5 million people and the entire nation is in mourning after these harrowing events. Earlier we heard from the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, she told Hala Gorani, this is not the New Zealand she knows.


HELEN CLARK, FORMER NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: When I woke up in Azerbaijan this morning to the messages I was in total disbelief, this is not the New Zealand we know, we are peaceful, we are tolerant, we are diverse. We don't have this kind of thing happening and there was a terrible mass shooting with so many innocent people at Friday prayers killed and so many others injured. I think we're all in a state of shock about this.

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But, you are in a state of shock and I heard a lot of New Zealanders say the same thing, this is not what we are about, but the reality is the suspect was living among ordinary New Zealanders, this ideology of hate of white supremacy exist there as well as in other countries, why do you think the signs were miss? Why do you think people are in such shock today?

CLARK: This man was not on any watch list, he has an accomplices, they were not on any watch list. So, undoubtedly after people come to terms with the great affect that it has happened many questions will be raised as to why they were not on any watch list? Did they keep their (inaudible) dry? Was there material on social media that the social media platform should've stopped? All the police intelligence agencies should have seen, all those questions must be asked.

GORANI: Are you worried this is might not be an isolated event that there could copycat attacks? That type of thing?

CLARK: Well, one is always worried about that, we watch these series of horribly tragic shootings in the United States which often appear to have copycat elements. So, I think, New Zealanders will be very alert right now to any signs that anything it might be repeated.

GORANI: And the current Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, she said this was a well-planned terrorist attack and one of New Zealand's darkest days, I want to remind our viewers what she said in the immediate aftermath of the massacre.

ARDERN: Many of those who have been directly affected by this shooting, maybe migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here, they have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home, they are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand, there is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence.

GORANI: How much do you think Helen Clark, some of the Islamophobic rhetoric we've been hearing from politicians around the world has contributed to the radicalization of some people who believe these attacks are justified?

CLARK: I think that this discourse tragically is now international, it's perpetrated through social media and platforms are very slow to remove things. These crazy people do network, I fear that we are one of the aspects of globalization that we are dealing with now is the wide propagation of these very extreme and dangerous ideas.


CHURCH: Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark speaking with us early. We are going to take a very short break, we'll be back in just a moment.


CHURCH: We take you live now to Christchurch, New Zealand, where the Prime Minister is speaking.


ARDERN: -- this is not the New Zealand that any of us know. Questions turn to issues of security. The commissioner has advised that security from the police will continue at mosques throughout New Zealand until it is deemed that there is no longer a threat.

Beyond that, it will be important that police, communities, and central government continue to stay in dialog and ensure that people feel safe and secure. We also visited those who have congregated at Hagley (ph) College --, many of those there are the direct friends and family members of those who have lost their lives.

The concern focused predominantly on the burial process, and ensuring that it is kept in line with custom. Police are continuing to liaise directly with family members, and are trying to do all they can to make the expectations of those who were present there this afternoon. I will share a little more detail on that in a moment.

In terms of a further update on details that we have to hand, 39 people remain in hospital, and 11 in ICU. Those injured range from young children to the elderly. They include men, women, and children, and they were among those who have been both killed, and injured.

I would like to give a quick update on the offender who has been arrested and charged. I want to acknowledge firstly that the police responded immediately to the call that they received relating to the attack. The individual charged was in custody, 36 minutes from receiving the first call.

The offender was mobile. There were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in, and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack. The 28 year-old male, has been charged and remanded in custody to appear in the high court on the 5th of April. As the commissioner has said, the man is currently facing one count of murder, but obviously there will further charges laid.

Police are working to build a picture of this tragic event. A complex and comprehensive investigation is underway.

[22:35:08] The police commissioner has already said that he will look to provide further details to your rounded investigation tomorrow. That update will include what has happened with the two individuals that you are aware of that were arrested, I spoke about earlier today.

Coming back to the issue of the burial of victims, I know that this is a key concern for members of the community. Deputy Commissioner (inaudible) Ethnic services while he hung our heads traveled to Christchurch, he was there with us at Hagley College. Alongside 15 additional Ethnic Liasson officers who are working to support the community.

These bacillus will work alongside local staff to support families there. They are assisting to repatriate them with their loved ones in a way that is consistent with Muslim faith. We are taking into account these unprecedented circumstances and the obligations to the corner.

I want to also advise that the Ministry of Education is continuing to support Christchurch schools and learning centers. Our Minister Trauma Team was mobilized yesterday and further resources had been considered as necessary. Communications will go out today to principles and early learning center, leaders in Christchurch about how to access support.

Principles and early learning leaders in all other regions will receive advice tomorrow. The ministry is preparing communication and resources that will also be live on the website, and trauma teams in all regions are ready to mobilize. I want to also acknowledge that in Christchurch, already in Canterbury schools, already have embedded within them a team of mental health and support workers under the Mana Ake program that was rolled out in response to the trauma attached to the earthquakes in impacted head on the communities. So, that does means that our schools in this region already have extra levels of support that's not every school would usually have.

This time, I am happy to take any questions that you may have, acknowledging that the conclusion of this press conference. I will be traveling to the hospital. I will not be taking a contingent to that meeting, our team is to try and ensure that medical professionals are able to focus on the work that they are doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- police officer should be recognized for their heroism in some way?

ARDERN: Yes. Obviously right now, the recognition it's coming from directly -- from members of the public who have seen their response. They went here in the building today, and I certainly have asked after them and I have asked the area commander to pass on the things of all New Zealanders. They were rural community cops. I understand from Lincoln, who were present here, and who -- if anyone who has seen the footage, they put New Zealand first.


ARDERN: I'm not privy to a full breakdown at this point, but it is clear that young children have been caught up in this horrific attack.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With (inaudible) -- this guy was not on any security radar.

ARDERN: No, the concerns that were raised with me primarily focus on support for families. What might be -- might be able to pre-provide the future if given many of these individuals were the primary source of income. And as you appeared -- I provide as much reassurance as I could on that.

At Hagley Park, the number one focus really was on identification of those who are still in the mosque. The timeline for windows individuals will be removed from the mosque. At the moment the police there hope is that they will have all bodies remove by the end of the day and of course, as I said, the burials process, that's an incredibly important part of the Muslim side, and police are familiar with that. They know that, they do -- unfortunately here have experience with expediting victim identification and its experience they are now using. Jessica?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible) from the timelines that you (inaudible)?

ARDERN: At Hagley Park, very much that the focus there was -- was on (inaudible) but the access of their loved ones. Front of mind for them, of course, fulfilling their religious expectations, and that is burial.

[22:40:05] And so, that was top of mind there. At Hagley Park, at the meeting at the refugee center, the community leaders share the same sentiment that has come through from New Zealanders generally. That this is not the New Zealand they know. This is not the New Zealand that has welcome them, and it is not a reflection of the New Zealand they know and that seems that came through very strongly.


ARDERN: I'm also in the same building as the people who are bring him to justice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What time did you tell him (inaudible)?

ARDERN: My focus was providing whatever timelines we currently have available to us, and that includes that the police are working to bring those bodies out by the end of the day. That is there hope. I'm told they are making good progress.

Obviously, there is another process that kicks in, of course, the Coroner's involved, it requires pathologist, as well, and all of those who were in each of those roles know just how important it is to families for them to be reunited with their loved ones as quickly as they can. So, simply laying out that process was my focus.

Police are still there, Willy Omaha (ph) and the Ethnic Liaisons, they are still on site, they will remain there alongside Red Cross to work with families, and the families -- and the victims of the families.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that they will -- access first families to benefits more than what is currently available to them (inaudible) burial?

ARDERN: Actually, the support for families, for things like burials comes through an ICC predominantly is my understanding. It is a higher package of support, given this -- the circumstances under which these individuals lost their lives. And so, I laid out to them that that will be available to them, and for those also who have lost spouses, who may have been the form of support and income with their dependents, there's also weekly compensation on an ongoing basis available to families.

What's key is that we provide individuals on the ground who can work with individual families to make sure that they are receiving their entitlement as quickly as possible.


ARDERN: Certainly, my expectation is that we will have agencies on the ground trying to facilitate that as quickly as possible. I've already spoken with the minister of ICC, there are already mobilizing. One of the things that we anticipating is needing to provide those who can work professionally across a range of languages, and embedding them within each of the agencies, but I've asked the community to try and help support us in that work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is (inaudible).

ARDERN: Yes. That's a meant for the right thing to do, that at local government level has been taking up by the mayor and, I'm sure the mayor will be happy to answer some of those questions as well. My understanding is that some facilities have already been provided, but certainly that was a message that, I know, that they are working on, ensuring that they have the facilities they need. So that they're able to continue their worship. In my understanding is that, that's being taking place already.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible), is that something they should be concerned about?

ARDERN: Look, that is essentially police putting front of mind, giving assurance to the residents here, that their safety is the number one priority. Yes, there is a helicopter in the air, there is as I say, it's the same as it was this morning. There is a prime suspect and perpetrator of this attack, but the police are ensuring that they include an investigation to give assurance that there are no ongoing threat to the people of Christchurch or New Zealand. That is a complex piece of work, that the commissioner will -- and being in a position to update you on again tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people -- (inaudible)

ARDERN: Yes, the assurance are I would like to give New Zealand the (inaudible) the increase in the threat level. Is that by increasing that threat level from low to high that means that we can take an immediate agency response.

It means that we leave nothing to chance. Yes, we appear to primarily be dealing with one primary perpetrator, but we want to make sure that we don't take anything for granted and ensuring New Zealander's safety. That increase in threat level can be lowered as quickly as it can be increase, but in increasing it, we can get the assurance of the people that agencies are kicking in with additional border protection and to ensure New Zealanders of their safety.

[22:45:10] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible)?

ARDERN: While I don't have a full breakdown, obviously, of those who have been caught up in this horrific attack, they do range in age, from children, but as I understand, predominantly from the age of roughly 20 to 60-ish. And yes, (inaudible) women and men have been involved, you will see from some of the images yourself, that there are large number of men had been.

We have the New Zealanders system through ICC that ensures that when we have loss of life like this that there is compensation available on an ongoing basis to families where they have lost a loved one, and particularly with a dependent. And that can continue for a period of time, in fact a number of years. What will be key is ensuring that we move as quickly as we can, to ascertain those who need that support, and to ensure that it is provided.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This man formed his twisted view in Australia, how crucial is it to Australian authorities to get a background on to this what mind and who he might had been motivated in New Zealand?

ARDERN: Obviously, we or the police are working very hard to form a picture of the activities of this individual, and what led up to the events that we saw -- occur in Christchurch yesterday. We are liaising closely with Australian agencies and counterparts. In fact, I have heard again from the Prime Minister Morrison today and we will stay in close contact.

Again though, I'm leaving it to the police and agencies to build that picture, we have great relationships with our Australian counterparts and it will be a key part of ongoing investigations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand (inaudible) you will rush the conversation you had with the Prime Minister?

ARDERN: It was an exchange by text message, simply maintaining contact office of support which I very much appreciate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you expect him to be expedited?

ARDERN: Sorry, I'll take you and your welcome.


ARDERN: Again, I don't want to go too far down that track, we are obviously in very early stages, charges have been laid, we can expect additional charges, the appearing in the high court on the 5th of April. So, there is obviously a process that needs to be gone through here, but I can say that I'm seeking advice on what will happen thereafter.


ARDERN: At this stage, I would like to leave the police to give further information around some of the movement of the individual, but what I have already indicated is that, this is in an individual, who at the time of the attack, had based himself in Dunedin, but I would describe him as someone who sporadically visited New Zealand, but spent period of time here on the occasions that he visited.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Attorney General has been some reported that saying in a rally (inaudible) will be ban from New Zealand and that the decision of the government has (inaudible)? ARDERN: Undoubtedly New Zealanders will question how someone could

have come to a possessions of weapons of this nature, one of the issues we are facing is that the guns that were used in this case appear to have been modified. That is a challenge that police have been facing, and that is a challenge that we will look to address in changing our laws.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you made a decision yet on that?

ARDERN: They're actually a raft of issues on the table that I think we need to look at, so I do not want to be exclusively just looking at one. We need to include the fact of modification of guns, which can lead them to become essentially the kind of weapons we have seen used in this terrorist act.


ARDERN: The minister police was already undertaking some work in this area, we will be looking to expedite that work, but also see of these additional areas that we need to address, particularly in light of what we have seen on this occasion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The carnage you will feel the burden as the country's leader, what about the parent, when you see their children?

ARDERN: I imagine that I'm feeling the exact same emotions that every New Zealanders is facing. If I have to additional responsibility in white, of expressing the grief of all New Zealanders and I certainly feel that. But I imagine the emotion I feel will be no different to every single New Zealander who has witnessed this.

[22:50:11] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) tomorrow or Monday as usual, as earlier that change of gun laws (inaudible)

ARDERN: It will certainly be something that I have asked (inaudible) to be briefed cabinet on, I will continue to be liaising directly and meeting directly with officials and representatives of agencies, including the commissioner of police, through today, through tomorrow.

At this point, my expectation is that cabinets only focused on Monday, it will be a briefing on what we have seen over the last 36 hours. It will include issues around our security and intelligence services, the process around watch lists, whether or not our border protections currently in the status that they should be, and including our gun laws. I imagine that it will be a significant part of the conversation.


ARDERN: Yes, yes, I have. Rebecca (inaudible) has been a part of all of the agency briefings that I've had. As I've already outlined to you, off the back of what has been a global rise in extreme right-wing violent rhetoric. Our agencies were light to that, and have been undertaking work, but again as I've said, this individual was not on any watch list and for either New Zealand or Australia. Again, what I sought from agencies is through the work, to ascertain whether or not he should have been.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has anyone form our intelligence agencies offer their resignation to you?

ARDERN: No. You will appreciate that my focus at the moment is looking directly into any communication, any interaction that should have led to a particular agency response. We just don't have those answers at this point in time, so I'm seeking those answers in the agencies are working very constructively.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think it's good enough which is because he wasn't on the watch list? That, you know, that will be the only indicator?

ARDERN: And as I've said, what we're looking for is whether or not there was any indication that someone should have been -- that this individual should have been someone that the authorities were aware of, and were proactively already focused on.

Those are the exact questions that we have asked, and at the agencies are working on. Again, as I've said, for the police at the moment, this is a complex investigation. My expectation is that Police Commissioner Bush should be out to give you some further detail tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where security agencies looking the other way?

ARDERN: Again, what I do want to feet out is simply what the agencies have advised me around the work that they have been undertaking around the existence of violent right-wing extremist groups in New Zealand. They were light to those groups in New Zealand, and because of the fact there has been arise of that at a global level. But again, as a consequence, we had not let this individual coming to the awareness of New Zealand agencies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About -- (inaudible)

ARDERN: Again, as I've said, I've ask very direct questions on agencies around anything that has occurred on social media, any indications, posting communications that should have led to a response from New Zealand agencies. That are exactly the questions that need to be answered. And those are exactly the questions that had been asked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems that the internet was very central to this attack (inaudible) regulated websites is perhaps forming a key part of this?

ARDERN: I expect that to be a part of the briefing that cabinets received from (INAUDIBLE). Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's been another man charged in relation to this, fierce group is very much on the radar, if not actively working on this plot, that have at least spreading hate stage online, the charges had been brought against one of those individuals, clear to say, lots of this individuals now on the (inaudible)? ARDERN: Again, I want to highlight that there is at this point a

primary perpetrator here, who obviously has been arrested and charged. This is however a complex and ongoing investigation that the police are undertaking. My expectations is that Police Commissioner Bush will give you further updates on the nature of that investigation and any other details, tomorrow. I'm simply not privy or able to give those details today.

[22:55:-7] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you not expecting more of this?

ARDERN: Again, I will leave for Commissioner Bush. All right. I will take one last question, if I can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is anybody else responsible?

ARDERN: Anyone? Go ahead, go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question is, did the intelligence services may have the mosque under surveillance? If they had the mosque under surveillance. Will you ask (inaudible)?

ARDERN: Again, that is not something that I have been briefed on, again, as I say, I can respond directly to the individuals and question. And the individual and question was not on a New Zealand watch list. So that should give you an indication of the level of surveillance there. OK. Thank you everyone.


CHURCH: This is not the New Zealand any of us know, and that -- the words of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. She said police are ensuring people there in New Zealand that there is no ongoing threat, and that there is security in place, understandably. She also said that she will ask whether this suspect should have been on a watch list. He was not.

She mentioned that 39 people remained in hospital, including children, men, and women, 11 of them are in the ICU, 49 people, of course, were killed in this massacre, mostly men, but also women and children. And a comprehensive complex investigation is underway. So many questions, so many answers to be delivered on this.

Thank you so much for joining, us I'm Rosemary Church, Amanpour is next. Then Cyril Vanier, will be back with more news and the latest from New Zealand. You're watching CNN.