Christchurch terror attack: Mayor defends decision not to call state of emergency

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel is defending her call to not declare a state of emergency after the Christchurch terror attack.

A state of emergency can be declared by the local city council and can suspend ordinary work and essential services if need be.

Dalziel told The AM Show that Muslims will return to the mosques when they are reopened.

It expires seven days after it was issued. One was not declared on Friday, but New Zealand's terror threat status was raised to high.

Dalziel told The AM Show she considered calling a state of emergency on the day and eventually decided against it.

"I did seek advice from the police as to whether or not that was required, it wasn't, they had the individual in custody...

"So no it wasn't required, I think people get confused about why a state of emergency makes a difference, it is about bringing in external resources, nothing has been spared in this matter."

But volunteer Negeen Sanaei, who has been working on the response to the tragedy since Saturday, was critical of the decision.

"We had a lot of amazing Civil Defence people that were there at the hub trying to help but they only have a certain capacity when that hasn't been declared.

"That was really difficult because we needed order, we needed some support from the outside and it was basically all of us just trying to run around and do our best.

"I think it would have personally made a difference, but then again I don't know how it works."