Simon Bridges calls for Royal Commission into Christchurch attacks

National leader Simon Bridges has called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into our security and intelligence agencies following the deadliest terror attack in New Zealand history.

Fifty people were killed after a gunman opened fire in two different Christchurch mosques on March 15. Minutes before, the alleged shooter published a lengthy manifesto in which he expressed white supremacist ideas.

He was not on any security watchlists here or in his native Australia.

In the wake of the massacre, experts have said authorities were "looking in all the wrong places" by focusing on jihadi terror rather than a burgeoning homegrown white supremacist movement.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told The AM Show there are "questions to be answered" about how our intelligence agencies let the gunman slip through the cracks.

Now the Leader of the Opposition has added his voice to those calling for an investigation.

"A Royal Commission is the only suitable level of inquiry to ensure this is investigated thoroughly and independently," Bridges said.

"We need to understand whether this could have been prevented. It will need to ask hard questions about whether our security and intelligence agencies had their focus in the right places."

Security legislation must also be revised "with some urgency" to keep New Zealanders safe, Bridges said.

He said the decision made by John Key's Government to abandon Project Speargun, which would have tapped internet traffic coming into New Zealand, meant Kiwis missed out on an extended degree of protection.

"We currently have Cortex as part of our cyber-security systems, which is much narrower and designed to protect institutions. It's never easy to balance the rights of privacy against security but where we draw the line must now be reconsidered."

Bridges said the Government should announce an inquiry into possible failings by our security and intelligence agencies, but it must keep asking how it can keep its citizens safe.

"An inquiry cannot be an excuse by the Government not to answer questions in the meantime," he said.

"Our security risk has now changed and New Zealanders need to be kept safe. The Royal Commission should look at the past, and Parliament should get on with actions for the future."