MP apologises after claiming Christchurch death toll had risen to 51

A Government minister has apologised after incorrectly claiming the death toll of the Christchurch terror attacks had risen to 51.

On Saturday evening, Mangere MP and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito Su'a William Sio posted on his personal social media channels saying "It's now 51!", NZME reports.

When a person responded to the message: "NOOOooo! Who has passed? Please not the little girl or her Dad," Sio responded: "Yes."

In fact, the little girl - Alin Alsati - is still alive in Starship Hospital in Auckland. She will undergo a final round of surgery on Wednesday.

Sio was quick to correct his mistake, explaining that he was told a child involved in the shootings had passed away by an audience member at a community gathering.

"Earlier today as I was speaking at a gathering in Manukau to pay respects to the victims and their families of the Christchurch attack, I made mention of the 50 people killed, and a man called out from the audience and corrected me by saying it was now 51.

"Later he said it was a Pakistani boy in North Shore. I took him at his word that a Muslim child had passed away, and perhaps related to the Christchurch attack, and simply posted up: It's now 51 :(.

"I regret any pain and hurt this post may have caused and have deleted it. My heartfelt apologies, if this child's death is unrelated to the victims of the Christchurch terror attack. I apologise sincerely for giving the wrong impression to people."

Meanwhile, the youngest survivor of the Christchurch mosque attack, two year-old Averroes Syah, was released from hospital on Wednesday.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: