Christchurch terror attack: Tuesday live updates

What we know:

  • Fifty people were killed at two Christchurch mosques on Friday
  • Thirty-one are still being treated for injuries, while nine remain in a critical condition
  • The victims' ages range from three to 77
  • The terror suspect - Australian citizen Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28 - has been charged with murder, but police say other charges will follow
  • He has reportedly sacked his duty lawyer, and plans to represent himself
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says he will face justice in New Zealand
  • The police investigation into the attacks is the largest in Aotearoa's history, with more than 250 officers and support staff involved
  • A national day of mourning is planned, the date yet to be decided
  • A Northland gun club has burnt down, which Fire and Emergency is calling suspicious
  • $6 million has been raised on Givealittle for the victims' families, and another $2.1 million on LaunchGood
  • The Government will announce gun law reforms within 10 days and Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the Government is considering a gun buyback scheme
  • Some Kiwi businesses are pulling their advertising from Facebook

If you would like to donate to the official Victim Support fund, go here. Victim Support's number is 0800 842846.

If you need to talk to someone about what you've read or seen in the past few days, call or text Need To Talk? on 1737.

5:15pm - Some bodies have been released to families, and by Wednesday nearly 40 funeral directors will be ready to help families when and as needed.

5:10pm - Qantas is reportedly considering stripping controversial Australian senator Fraser Anning of his membership in an exclusive club over his Christchurch shooting comments.

The senator issued a statement just hours after the terrorist attack, blaming New Zealand's immigration programme for the murders.

"The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration programme which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place," he wrote.

"While Muslims may have been the victims today, usually they are the perpetrators."

Anning has been publicly condemned by millions of people, and now the airline may take action.

According to The Australian, Qantas has said it will review Mr Anning's access to the Chairman’s Lounge, a luxury club with its own waiting room.

"Qantas, now under the chairmanship of AFL president Richard Goyder, has called an urgent review of the current membership list," the paper writes.

"We can confirm the Chairman's Lounge membership of controversial independent Queensland Senator Fraser Anning is now officially under review."

4:40pm - Jacinda Ardern is being praised after she lashed out at the shooter who carried out our worst terrorist attack, saying New Zealand will "give him nothing".

"There is one person at the centre of this act of terror against our Muslim community in New Zealand," she told Parliament on Tuesday.

"He sought many things from his act of terror, but one was notoriety. And that is why you will never hear me mention his name.

"He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless.

"And to others I implore you: speak the names of those who were lost, rather than name of the man who took them.

"He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing. Not even his name."

4:30pm - Facebook says only a few thousand people saw the original livestreamed shooting video.

"In the time that it was actually live, fewer than 200 people viewed it," vice president for global policy Monika Bickert told the NZME on Tuesday.

"And in the time that it took us to remove any version of that initial video from Facebook, fewer than 4000 people total - including the initial number who saw it live - were able to view that video."

Bickert says Facebook's automated systems failed to pick up on the horrifying content, and the first alert it got came from NZ police "within an hour".

4:15pm - Police have released a heartwrenching photo showing the impact of the tragedy on them and St John officers. 

4:00pm - Kiwi telco company CEOs have written an open letter to Facebook, Twitter and Google calling for change.

"Internet service providers are the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, with blunt tools involving the blocking of sites after the fact. The greatest challenge is how to prevent this sort of material being uploaded and shared on social media platforms and forums," it reads.

"We must find the right balance between internet freedom and the need to protect New Zealanders, especially the young and vulnerable, from harmful content. Social media companies and hosting platforms that enable the sharing of user generated content with the public have a legal duty of care to protect their users and wider society by preventing the uploading and sharing of content such as this video.

"Although we recognise the speed with which social network companies sought to remove Friday's video once they were made aware of it, this was still a response to material that was rapidly spreading globally and should never have been made available online. We believe society has the right to expect companies such as yours to take more responsibility for the content on their platforms."

3:15pm: Jacinda Ardern has released the full text of her statement to Parliament on the Christchurch mosques terror attack.

Christchurch terror attack: Tuesday live updates
Christchurch terror attack: Tuesday live updates
Christchurch terror attack: Tuesday live updates

2:50pm - Act leader David Seymour is extending his sympathy to the victims.

"The terrorist may not like it but we will never back down from our beliefs."

2:40pm - Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson says those in the mosque should have been safe in New Zealand.

"You were praying. You were in the most profound state of harmony," she said.

"Your families have been ripped apart, your hearts broken."

2:35pm - New Zealand First leader Winston Peters calls the terrorist who carried out the attacks a "coward" and says his ways "were not our ways".

He says while Friday was a "day everything changed in our country", it would not change New Zealand's character.

He told Parliament the gunman aimed to create fear, but that would not work here.

2:33pm - Bridges is backing gun control in New Zealand.

"No-one can understand why anyone needs semi-automatic weapons for recreational use," Bridges says.

2:30pm - National leader Simon Bridges is speaking next. He says New Zealanders have been "changed forever" by the attack - especially the lives of the victims and their families.

"New Zealand was somewhere where they could find solace in a world full of problems," he told Parliament.

"We let them down and for that we are sorry."

2:25pm - Ardern says New Zealand needs to confront "racism, violence and extremism".

The "door must close on all of those who espouse hate and fear", and everyone needs to be able to feel safe.

Social media companies need to take responsibility to prevent their platforms being used to distribute this content.

2:20pm - Ardern says New Zealand remains on high alert and police will continue to monitor mosques around the country.

Security and intelligence services have been receiving a stream of information, which is being "taken seriously" and will be "followed up".

2:10pm - Jacinda Ardern is making a statement of condolence to the families of the victims in Parliament.

"They were New Zealanders, they were us. Because they were us, we mourn them," she says.

"We cannot know your grief but we can walk with you at every stage."

She also spoke to police and first respondents, offering "heartfelt thanks from us all".

The "arrest itself was nothing short than an act of bravery," she says.

"We are proud of your work and incredibly grateful for it."

Christchurch terror attack: Tuesday live updates

2:05pm - Parliament has opened with Islamic prayer on Tuesday. MPs stood as Speaker Trevor Mallard led a multi-faith delegation of religious representatives into the House.

The prayer, when translated into English, called for New Zealand to be protected, and acknowledged the Prime Minister's statement that Friday was NZ's "darkest day".

1:45pm - The Ministry of Health has released an update on the number of injured.

There are 30 patients in Christchurch, with nine of these critical.

The father of the four-year-old girl transferred to Starship Hospital has been flown to Auckland to be with her.

1:15pm - Sarah Stuart-Black, the director of the Ministry of Civil Defence, is speaking to reporters alongside other heads of agencies, including Terry Brown from New Zealand Customs and David Meates from the Canterbury DHB.

Stuart-Black said it was necessary for her to come to Christchurch to understand the resources needed and to meet with relevant authorities.

She also paid tribute to staff on the ground as well as volunteers.

Brown said there was an expanded presence by customs at New Zealand international airports.

Katrina Casey from the Ministry of Education said 68 schools and 19 early childhood centres had sought support.

1:05pm - Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Indonesia on Tuesday night for a "high level dialogue on Indo-Pacific cooperation".

Peters said while the trip has been scheduled for sometime, its importance cannot be overstated now.

"First and foremost, it will be an opportunity to mark our appreciation for the sympathy and support of Indonesia and other countries in the region, and update them on how this country is responding," he said.

Christchurch terror attack: Tuesday live updates
Photo credit: Newshub.

"We will also express our deepest condolences.  Many of those killed or injured in this despicable act of terrorism were originally from the region or maintain family connections."

Peters will then travel onwards to Turkey at the request of the Turkish Government to attend a special ministerial meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation being held in Istanbul.

"This important event will allow New Zealand to join with our partners in standing against terrorism and speaking up for values such as understanding and religious tolerance. We are very clear that the terrorist attack in Christchurch, committed by a person who is not a New Zealander, is utterly contrary to our core beliefs," Mr Peters said.

On Monday, Peters criticised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for airing parts of the Christchurch terror attack livestreams at a political rally.

1:00pm - Victim Support's Givealittle has now reached $6 million, which combined with the $2.1 million raised on LaunchGood, means $8.1 million has been raised for those affected by the Christchurch terror attack.

"This is an unprecedented fundraising response to an unprecedented tragedy in New Zealand and we thank everybody who has donated," said Victim Support Chief Executive Kevin Tso.

"The amount we have raised is overwhelming and reflects the tragedy’s widespread ripple effect and the human desire to help others in need.

"New Zealand and the world are in mourning."

Tso said donations have come in from all over the world, including Australia, Canada, the US, the UK, South Africa, and the Maldives.

He also confirmed no money would go towards the organisaiton's regular operating costs.

"We have begun making emergency payments to victims on an as-required basis, respecting cultural advice and considerations at each step," said Mr Tso.

 

12:45pm - Elim Christian College's Junior Campus has expressed its support for the people of Christchurch with this image.

Christchurch terror attack: Tuesday live updates
Photo credit: Supplied / Harry Snook

12:20pm - Health Minister David Clark's office says 30 patients remain in Christchurch Hospital, with nine critical. There are two patients in Auckland - one child and one patient who has flown there to be with them.

11:55am - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has publicly released the letter he sent to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as G20 President.

He said he wanted to see "leaders of the world's biggest economies ensure social media companies implement better safeguards to ensure their platforms can't be exploited by terrorists or to spread hate speech".

The letter proposes working to ensure necessary prevention and protection strategies, including filtering systems and stronger moderation of "actors who encourage, normalise, recruit, facilitate or commit terrorist and violent activities".

It also calls for greater transparency from social media companies and to set out "clear consequences" for platforms which facilitate horrific acts.

11:50am - Spark has again warned of scammers attempting to exploit the Christchurch terrorist attacks by "inviting them to make donations into fraudulent bank accounts".

It provided a list of verified platforms for people to donate and said to avoid using links sent via email.

On Monday, Westpac issued a warning about an email scam seeking to profit off the tragedy.

"The scammers are sending out an email that carries Westpac branding," a bank spokesperson says.

"Customers can identify the scam by hovering over the link in the email - they will see the link will take them to a website called mothersawakening."

11:45am - TSB has suspended all advertising on social media platforms following the Christchurch terror attacks.

Several Kiwi businesses have said they will pull advertising on Facebook to put pressure on the social media giant to change its livestream and objectionable material moderation policies.

"TSB is disappointed in the role social media played in Friday’s tragedy and thinks it’s inappropriate to continue to support this channel.

"Since Friday afternoon, other aspects of TSB’s digital advertising have been pulled to ensure sensitivity at this time.

"Our thoughts are with those affected by this incredibly shocking and sad event."

11:30am - A former Sky News employee who resigned on Saturday after the Christchurch terror attacks has written an opinion piece criticising her former employer.

Rashna Farrukh said as the Christchurch events unfolded on Friday, she knew she had to resign after more than three years working on Sky News "after dark" which she described as "when the rolling coverage of the day's news makes way for conservative commentators".

"As a young Muslim woman, I had many crises of conscience working here, but the events of Friday snapped me out of the endless cycle of justifying my job to myself. On Saturday, I finally sent in my letter of resignation."

In her junior role helping studio guests, she said she felt sick seeing commentators on Sky News spread discriminatory views and misinformation. After the attacks, she said she "knew what I had to do" and tried to act on her morals by resigning.

10:45am - Simon Bridges has said the National Party will play a "very constructive role" in changing gun laws, but he is hesitant to provide his full support until he has seen what the Government is proposing. 

Christchurch terror attack: Tuesday live updates
Photo credit: Newshub.

"I just don't know what it is they are proposing, there are different ways to do this, I do want to talk to them about it  and see exactly what they are proposing, but my clear hope and expectation is that it will be bipartisan."

He said he is "open to everything and anything on this" and listed a buyback scheme, a moratorium, licensing changes and bans as possible options.

Bridges was also asked if he supported banning semi-automatic weapons, to which he had a blunt answer.

"It would be remarkable to justify any other position."

But he also lashed out at media after it was reported the National Party pulled its petition campaigning against the United National Migraiton Compact following Friday's attacks.

National opposed the Compact before its adoption in December, concerned about how it may impact how New Zealand dealt with its immigration settings - despite the Compact being non-binding. 

While he initially believed the petition had been deleted weeks ago, he found out on Tuesday morning that wasn't the case.

"The situation there is I had understood that some weeks ago it was deleted as a matter of routine archiving. What in fact happened, I have learnt this morning, is that a junior staffer who was incredibly emotional on Friday night took it upon themselves to delete it."

He said any suggestion that the National Party's comments on the Compact fuelled anti-immigration sentiment was wrong.

"Now is not a time for pettiness about these issues. 50 people died on Friday and this hasn't, with the greatest respect, got a blind bit to do with it".

10:35am - The Pasifika Festival will not be held this coming weekend, the Auckland Council has announced.

"Given the need to prioritise police resourcing following the terrible events in Christchurch, we have today decided to cancel the Pasifika Festival for the coming weekend, 23 and 24 March," a statement from Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development's general manager Steve Armitage said.

"Initial discussions with New Zealand Police gave us hope that through the festival we would be able to bring Auckland’s communities together at this time of national mourning, however, given the unprecedented nature of what has happened we appreciate and respect that the New Zealand Police must prioritise resourcing to ensure the safety of all our communities across Tāmaki Makaurau.

"Pasifika Festival will return bigger and brighter than ever in 2020."

10:20am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she will be looking to the media to not add to the alleged gunman's notoriety during his eventual trial.

Christchurch terror attack: Tuesday live updates
Photo credit: Newshub.

On Monday, it was reported that the alleged shooter will represent himself and there are fears he could use the platform to express his extremist views.

"That is absolutely something that we need to acknowledge and do what we can to prevent the notoriety that this individual seeks."

While she didn't provide any practical solutions to reduce the attention he receives, Ardern did say: "You won't hear me speak his name".

Speaking to reporters, Ardern also reiterated that the proposed gun law changes will be publicly announced before the next cabinet meeting and it is a "matter of urgency".

She said it would be "hugely beneficial" if consensus could be reached with the National Party.

Adern also said since the attacks she had spoken to Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump and Scott Morrison, and Theresa May, who had raised issues the UK had been having with social media.

10:15am - A vigil for those affected by the Christchurch terror attacks in Dunedin will now take place at Forsyth Barr stadium on Thursday night, rather than at the Octagon.

Mayor Dave Cull said large numbers were expected, including thousands of University of Otago students.

"It’s really heart-warming that students, and many other members of our community, want to turn out in such huge numbers. However, that means we’re likely to outgrow the Octagon, which was the original location.

"To make sure we can include everyone who wants to take part, we need to have a really big venue and the stadium is ideal as it can safely hold more people than the Octagon."

Free transport options are being looked at by the council.

10:05am - Finance Minister Grant Robertson has confirmed he is working on the idea of a gun buyback scheme, but wouldn't discuss how much money could be put aside if it went ahead.

He said he has been looking at Australian experiences with a similar scheme for how this may be implemented.

Robertson, who is also the Sports and Recreation Minister, was asked if he believed the Crusaders needed to change its name in the wake of the violence against the Christchurch Muslim community.

While he wouldn't express his personal opinion, he was happy the rugby team was consulting with Muslim community.

"I aware of the conservations that they are now having, particularly with the Muslim community in Christchurch, I think that that's appropriate.

"I think it is a responsible action to undertake those conversations now."

10:00am - This image of a silver fern drawn with Muslims in different stages of prayer has gone viral on social media and reflects the number of lives lost.

9:55am - Funeral director and the head of the national response team, Simon Manning, said it will be up to each family to decide whether they want to be a part of a mass service or to have an inidividual service for their loved one.

"I suspect there will be a large funeral, but I'm just not sure of the numbers," Manning told The AM Show.

9:45am - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has written to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will host the June G20 summit, asking for a crackdown on internet and social media giants to be a top agenda item at the summit, reports The Australian.

He is calling for consequences for companies whose platforms are used to facilitate and normalise horrific acts and that it is unacceptable for the internet to be treated as an ungoverned space.

9:15am - Top criminal lawyer Belinda Sellars QC told The AM Show that politics has gotten in the way of gun law reform and labelled New Zealand's gun laws as weak.

Christchurch terror attack: Tuesday live updates
Photo credit: The AM Show

"Certainly there have been attempts through the years, three in recent times, to change the law and it has been looked at very carefully, but at the end of the day it's not made it through the final hoop, which has been a result of what has been happening in Parliament," she said.

"A quick review [of how New Zealand's gun laws compare to the rest of the world] would tend to show that it is much weaker in many ways, it's looser, we register the gun owners rather than the gun themselves which means we have no way of knowing where a particular gun is at a different time.

"Even our registration of owners is 10 years, where a lot of places is five."

8:25am - Google says after the terrorist attack it saw an "unprecedented volume of attempts to post videos with footage from the shooting, at times coming in as fast as a post per second."

The internet search engine says it has removed tens of thousands of videos and terminated hundreds of accounts "created to promote or glorify the shooter".

"In response, we took a number of steps, including automatically rejecting any footage of the violence, temporarily suspending the ability to sort or filter searches by upload date, and making sure searches on this event pulled up results from authoritative news sources like The New Zealand Herald or USA Today," says a YouTube spokesperson.

YouTube has also suspended the ability for people to filter searches or sort by upload state to limit the reach of newly uploaded objectionable material.

It encourages people to flag any objectionable content immediately.

"We also increased the number of people working across Google to address violative content, bringing the total to 10,000, helping us to quickly remove content once flagged."

8:00am - Acting Race Relations Commissioner Professor Paul Hunt has suggested New Zealand needs to revisit its hate laws in the wake of the attacks.

"We do have to collect data around hate crimes, it's not adequately collected at the moment.

"We do need to have a survey of the xenophobic extremism that is found in some...quarters of our society and we do need a national plan of action across government...to address the issues of xenophobic extremism and racism."

He also said Kiwis must confront issues of racism in our society.

7:50am - New Zealand's Chief Censor David Shanks said Facebook isn't untouchable and hopes the attacks will force a conversation about the broadcasting of objectionable material online.

He said he doesn't agree with the argument often presented by social media platforms.

"The argument that social media platforms advance around this is effectively they are like a phone company. They are not responsible for the content users put on their platforms or deliver through their platforms.

"It doesn't wash with me."

7:35am - Simplicity managing director Sam Stubbs told The AM Show that he believes Facebook will take notice of Kiwi businesses pulling their advertising in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks.

Christchurch terror attack: Tuesday live updates
Photo credit: The AM Show

"Facebook, they are a very rich company, they have huge resources, the one thing they will listen to is when customers start walking away," he said.

"This is not an issue of what Facebook can and cannot do from a technical point of view or resource point of view, it's their policy on this one. So their policy has to change, and I think the only way the policy changes is if people actually speak.

"I am pretty sure Facebook will get that message."

7:30am - Controversial Australian senator Fraser Anning is doubling down on his anti-Muslim views only days after he was widely criticised for his comments on the Christchurch attacks.

"Countries that allow large-scale immigration invariably have escalation in crime, violence and terrorist attacks. Now, as far as I'm concerned, that's just a statement of fact," Anning says.

7:25am - Photos have emerged of the fire at the Kaitaia Gun Club.

Christchurch terror attack: Tuesday live updates
Photo credit: Zarn Reichardt
Christchurch terror attack: Tuesday live updates
Photo credit: Zarn Reichardt

7:20am - Far North Mayor John Carter told The AM Show on Tuesday morning that he understood the Kaitaia Gun Club had been completely burnt down. 

"As far as I know it has burnt right down and the whole building is destroyed."

But he didn't believe anyone had had any animosity for the club or any reason to target it.

"This is a great gun club, they are good people, they do a good job, they look after their membership. They are part of our community, and there is no room for anyone to take anything into their own hands," he said.

"We are a community that stands by each other and we will sort this stuff out and support the gun club in whatever is going on."

7:00am - Volunteering New Zealand are asking for A positive and O positive blood donations to help care for those still in Christchurch Hospital.

6:45am - A gun club has burnt down in Northland.

Fire crews were called to the Kaitaia Gun Club on Okahu Downs Drive at four o'clock this morning.

A Fire and Emergency spokesperson says it's being treated as suspicious and a fire investigator has been called.

Police say there are no injuries and officers are currently at the scene.

6:35am - The Commercial Communications Council has called for global support as Kiwi businesses drop their Facebook advertising in the wake of Christchurch's terror attacks which were livestreamed by the alleged gunman.

6:30am - An Australian man has been arrested after allegedly expressing his support for the Christchurch terror attacks in online comments.

Chad Vinzelberg's house was then raided and police found multiple weapons. He was charged with four counts of possessing prohibited weapons and one count of possessing prohibited equipment. He was not charged in relation to his comments.

The judge ordered to man to be banned from using the internet and was released on bail until another court appearance in December.

6:00am - An Auckland artist has painted a moving mural in honour of Rashid Naeem, who died trying to overpower the gunman in Friday's attacks. 

5:55am - The top cleric in the Muslim World League, Secretary General Sheikh Mohammed Alissa, is travelling to New Zealand to pay respect to those affected by the attacks.

5:50am - Nearly $6 million has been raised for the victims on Givealittle, while more than $2 million has been raised on LaunchGood.

5:45am - One of the many volunteers who have come to New Zealand to help wash the dead victims in accordance with Islamic funeral rites has spoken about the "honour" of being called to help.

5:35am - The latest update on those in hospital is that 31 remain injured, with nine in a critical condition. Two people were discharged on Monday night.

5:25am - The English Football Association has tweeted that it will pay tribute to the victims of the Christchurch terror attack at a match on Friday between England and the Czech Republic.

"We will remember everyone affected by the terrible events in Christchurch."

5:20am - Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he no longer stands by controversial comments he made in 2017, where he claims "Islamophobia hasn't killed anyone".

He made the comments in the aftermath of the 2017 London Bridge terror attack, but told The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday he wouldn't repeat them after the Christchurch attack. 

"I wouldn't repeat now what I said in an interview then because even if it might have been correct then it's certainly not right today."

5:10am - Less than three days following the Christchurch terror attack, three people have been killed and nine injured in a shooting in the Netherlands.

While the shooter's motives are not yet known, the terrorism level in the Utrecht province has been raised to its highest level, while local schools have been put into lockdown.

The gunman, Gokem Tanis, is currently on the run.

5:00am - United States President Donald Trump has tweeted his anger at the "Fake News Media", saying it is "working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand."

"They will have to work very hard to prove that one. So Ridiculous."

A manifesto released by suspected gunman Brenton Tarrant referenced Trump, but the White House has pushed back on any attempt to link the pair's viewpoints.

 

 

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