Christchurch terror attack: Gerry Brownlee calls for tough punishment of Christchurch gunman

If found guilty, the alleged Christchurch gunman should be locked up for life and forced to listen to the Muslim call to prayer five times a day, says Gerry Brownlee.

Suspected of carrying out the Christchurch attack on Friday, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant is likely to face numerous charges next time he's in court.

Brownlee, a former Minister of Defence, says if guilty, Tarrant shouldn't ever walk free.

"I wouldn't want be the sentencing judge because the public have made it very clear what their expectation is. If it was me, I'd put him in complete isolation for the rest of his natural life and play him the call to prayer five times a day so he doesn't forget what he's done."

To stop copycats or other far-right extremists following in the gunman's footsteps, Brownlee wants an immediate moratorium on sales of semi-automatic weapons.

"We could do that in Parliament tomorrow afternoon if that's the will of the Parliament and the people."

According to Chris Hipkins, all that will be happening in Parliament on Tuesday is the reading of condolences. At this stage, it appears Parliament will next sit in full on Wednesday next week.

Cabinet is meeting today to discuss what steps the Government will take.

Brownlee was full of praise for the police, saying they "scrambled incredibly well" to stop the gunman. It took 36 minutes from the first call until the killer's arrest.

In that time, he managed to kill 50 people. Brownlee didn't have much positive to say about our intelligence agencies, who weren't aware of suspect Tarrant's alleged activities beforehand at all.

"I've got very little tolerance for that blasé, 'he wasn't on our radar screen'. They are resourced, despite what they might say. They are resourced to be able to do that."

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Nor does Brownlee care much for the rights of gun owners right now. There have been reports of panic-buying, gun users keen to get their hands on high-powered weapons now before any moratorium or ban.

"No one is going to be very sympathetic to people who might have to return a weapon simply because they thought they'd get in ahead of some change. Incredibly insensitive in my view, as have many of the comments coming out of the pro-gun lobby."