As it happened: Latest on stabbing aftermath - Sunday, September 5

The family of the Lynn Mall terrorist has spoken out, revealing they urged him to "forget about all of the issues he was obsessed with".

On Friday afternoon, a man carried out an "ISIS-inspired" attack with a knife on shoppers at the Countdown in west Auckland's LynnMall.

Seven people were injured in the terrorist attack, including three who remain in critical condition as of Sunday morning.

The man was shot dead by police, who had been surveilling him, within roughly a minute of the attack starting.

Late on Saturday night, the man was identified as 32-year-old Sri Lankan national Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen, a man officials had been trying to deport for years.

Samsudeen, a Tamil Muslim, arrived in New Zealand in 2011 where he was later granted refugee status.

However, in 2018, he was notified this would be revoked, something Samsudeen challenged. A final decision on this had not been made by the time of the attack.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has condemned the "violent attack", saying it was "senseless".

"It was despicable, it was hateful, it was wrong. It was carried out by an individual, not faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity - but an individual person who was gripped by an ideology that is not supported here by anyone or any community," she said. 

What you need to know

These live updates have now finished.

2:40pm - The ACT Party is proposing three new law changes following the LynnMall terror attack. 

"ACT stands with all New Zealanders in condemning what happened in Auckland," leader David Seymour said. 

"We now need a careful and considered response to balance preventing attacks like this on the one hand, and rushing through a law with unintended consequences on the other."

Seymour said the attacker was "left at large to commit his terrorist act" and said many Kiwis will be wondering why he was allowed in the New Zealand community.

ACT is proposing following three changes:

  1. Amend s164 of the Immigration Act, so that a person's danger to New Zealand can be weighed against the threat of their home country to them. At present s164 says that a person cannot be deported if they are a 'protected person'. That is protection for them, ACT says that protection must be balanced against the threat they pose to New Zealanders.
  2. Amend the Immigration Act so that a person awaiting deportation or who cannot be deported for reasons of international law can be given detention in New Zealand, if they are a threat to national security. If a person cannot be deported due to international obligations, the Government should be able to use detention to protect New Zealanders.
  3. A preparation crime, where a person is guilty of the crime of preparing to commit terrorism, becomes a crime.

"Rather than rushing, if anything the Government should pause to consider what we've learned, we may need to make different changes than we previously thought.," Seymour said.

"The current Bill before the Select Committee should be separated into multiple bills, one to do the simple and immediate changes, if applicable. Another bill should be given an extension of time in Select Committee to consider new information in light of the Lynnmall attack."

2pm - The press conference has now wrapped up.

1:58pm - Robertson said he "can say with certainty" the refugee application process is rigorous despite the terrorist being granted refugee status using what turned out to be "fraudulent material".

1:51pm - Robertson said he is not aware of any contact between the Government and the terrorist's family.

Grant Robertson.
Grant Robertson. Photo credit: Getty Images

1:47pm - Robertson said there were a series of conditions implemented during the terrorist's time spent in the community and he was given all services expected of someone who had left prison, along with surveillance.

1:43pm - The person behind the attack entered New Zealand on a student visa and was later granted asylum.

But while investigating him years later, INZ was "made aware of information that led them to believe the individual's refugee status was fraudulently obtained".

Robertson wouldn't confirm which documents or information was fabricated.

1:40pm - He said the Government will "comprehensively look at all of our laws to keep us safe" following the attack.

1:35pm - Questioning has now shifted to the terror attack.

When asked about the terrorist's mother's claims he was brainwashed by his neighbours, Robertson said: "We don't have any evidence to support that claim".

Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Photo credit: Getty Images

1:15pm - One other person who is in Auckland City Hospital remains stable. 

The person who had been admitted to Middlemore Hospital was discharged on Saturday.

"They are now recovering at home," Dr Bloomfield said.

1:13pm - Dr Bloomfield has confirmed from the attack there are currently three victims in Auckland City Hospital ICU. He said they are all in a critical but stable condition.

As it happened: Latest on stabbing aftermath - Sunday, September 5
Photo credit: Getty Images

1:02pm - Robertson has started the press conference by acknowledging all of the essential workers who helped after the attack including St John staff, nurses, doctors and supermarket staff.

He urged Kiwis to be kind to supermarket workers following the LynnMall terror attack.

Robertson also thanked the police and NZ SIS who had been conducting an investigation into the attacker.

"They have played an important and valuable role."

12:50pm - Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson will be providing an update on the LynnMall terror attack around 1pm, after Dr Ashley Bloomfield reveals the latest COVID-19 figures.

You can watch the livestream here or on Three.

12:15pm - Dr John Battersby, a teaching fellow at Massey University's Centre for Defence and Security Studies, said he believes New Zealand's current Terrorism Suppression Act is "not fit for purpose" - "and it hasn't been for quite some time".

"I think there were serious shortcomings identified following Operation 8 [New Zealand police raids] in 2007. Those shortcomings haven't been rectified since that time," he told Newshub.

"The other thing that hasn't really occurred over the period of the last 20 years is that the legislation has not kept pace with the international developments in terrorism. As it stands, it's 20 years old, it wasn't really effective when it was inactive and it's still not effective now."

The New Lynn terrorism attack has prompted the Government to speed up changes to New Zealand's counter-terrorism laws.

The High Court was previously unable to convict the attacker as a terrorist, as planning a terror attack is not an offence.

But Battersby said even if it does become an offence, it's still going to have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt and proving that intent is "always going to be a challenge" to prove.

"When it comes to a lone actor who is making an impulsive decision, it's not going to be of any use."

John Battersby.
John Battersby. Photo credit: Newshub

11:30am - Prof Paul Spoonley said incidents like the LynnMall terror attack can help to change New Zealand laws for the better.

"It's the point where we review processes and make sure it does not happen again, " he told Newshub.

"I think some of this was possibly foreseeable but much of it was not. And remember that we are dealing with refugees, typically highly traumatised people, people often don't have documentation, people's whose own personal histories are very, very difficult in a personal sense and I think in this case it is true as well. 

"However we do need to assess risk and we do need to assess whether or not somebody should be here as a refugee and of course the system did ultimately decide he should be deported. It just didn't happen that he was deported in time."

11:05am - Massey University Prof Paul Spoonley, an expert on far-right extremism, told Newshub his main takeaway from the aftermath of the LynnMall terror attack is that New Zealand's "systems have been both slow and haven't been in sync".

"We've had the issue of his refugee status - which has been revoked - and then not being able to deport him because he is facing charges in the court. It's really highlighted that we need to have better processes around these things," he said.

Spoonley said he understands there is a process of justice which needs to be followed, but it meant the terrorist couldn't be deported.

"I'm interested because the Prime Minister herself raised the question of deportation in 2018 and was told the process couldn't be hastened up. When you get very senior political involvement, and obviously I assume she reflected the concern of the wider community and that this individual was a risk to this community, then why can't the system respond to that high level interest on our collective behalf?

"I think we need to look at our policies, there are the issues around the Terrorist Act and the fact that your planning something is not an offence. We've got several points in this whole, rather bizarre process which highlight that we need better laws, we do need better policies and we certainly need better processes."

Paul Spponley.
Paul Spponley. Photo credit: Newshub

10:30am - The family of the LynnMall terrorist released a statement overnight saying they are "shaken" and "heartbroken" by the attack.

Ahamed Adil Mohamed Samsudeen's brother Aroos wrote the statement on behalf of the family.

"We wish to begin by saying that our family would like to send our love and support to those who were hurt in the horrible act," he said. "We are so shaken by what has happened and we do not know what to do. We hope these words will help bring some peace to your beautiful country. We are ready to help you all in the healing process no matter what is needed from us."

Aroos noted Samsudeen would "spend a lot of time online" which the family saw as a problem. 

"He wanted to impress his friends from Sri Lanka on Facebook. He wanted to share the sufferings and injustices. He saw himself as someone fighting those injustices."

He said the families "lives have changed forever" and they are thinking of the victims.

"We are thinking of the injured, both mentally and physically. May we all heal from this together. God be with you. Amen."

Read the full story here.

10am - The mother of Ahamed Adil Mohamed Samsudeen has reportedly claimed he was "brainwashed" by his New Zealand neighbours who were from the Middle East.

Samsudeen's mother made the accusations in an interview with the Hiru TV network, The Straits Times reported.

She said Samsudeen was injured in 2016 and his neighbours seized the opportunity to influence him as they "were the only people who helped him as he recovered".

"Those neighbours from Syria and Iraq are the ones who brainwashed him," she reportedly said.

"We knew there was a change in him. The change came after he left the country" and settled in New Zealand in 2011.