Temel Atacocugu
Temel Atacocugu (C), a survivor of the March 15 twin mosque massacre, leaves the Christchurch District Court on April 5, 2019 after alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant, accused of shooting dead 50 Muslims during the March 15 attack on two mosques, appeared for his hearing via audio-visual link from a maximum-security prison in Auckland. Image Credit: AFP

Wellington: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern named Supreme Court Justice William Young to chair the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch terror attack.

“The government will ensure no stone is left unturned as we examine as quickly as possible how the March 15 attack happened, what could have been done to stop it and how we can keep New Zealanders safe,” Ardern said in a statement. “The Royal Commission plays a critical role in our ongoing response to fully understand what happened in the lead up to the attack and to ensure such an attack never happens again.”

A gunman killed 50 people when he opened fire on worshippers at two Christchurch mosques last month, live-streaming the massacre to social media. A 28-year-old Australian has been charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 of attempted murder.

Ardern said the inquiry would look at the individual’s activities before the attack, including relevant information from his time in Australia, his travel within New Zealand and internationally, how he obtained a gun licence, his use of social media and his connections with others.

It will also address whether state agencies could have taken any additional measures to prevent the attack.

The inquiry is scheduled to start considering evidence from May 13 and is expected to report back to Governor-general Patsy Reddy by Dec. 10, Ardern said. It will have a budget of NZ$8.2 million ($5.5 million).

The New Zealand government announced on Saturday 1-million-NZ dollar (676,400 US dollars) funds to support ethnic communities affected by the Christchurch terror attacks which killed 50 people on March 15. Affected communities are invited to apply for the funds to develop projects that will enhance their development and enrich social connections, Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa said in a statement. “The Office of Ethnic Communities, as conduit between the government and ethnically diverse communities, will also receive funding for additional staff to provide better on the ground culturally appropriate support to victims and families in Christchurch,” Salesa said.