New Zealand PM pledges accountability for Christchurch victims
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday pledged accountability for families of the victims of last year's Christchurch mosque shooting, a day before a major report on the country's worst massacre is released.
Addressing a media briefing, Prime Minister Ardern acknowledged the need for proof of action on establishing whether systemic failures by government agencies led to the tragedy, in which a white supremacist killed 51 Muslim worshippers at two South Island city mosques in March 2019.
"I absolutely appreciate the community will want to see accountability in terms of implementation. They will want to see who is responsible for coordinating some of those efforts… and we will be providing that," she said.
The newly re-elected leader met with relatives of victims and some survivors on Sunday, promising them immediate action on the royal commission report.
She cautioned that some recommendations would take longer to implement.
The findings of the near 800-page inquiry will be made public on Tuesday.
Completed over a year and a half, the report includes interviews with hundreds of individuals, among them security agencies, Muslim community leaders, international experts and officials in three countries, along with Ardern.
The inquiry came amid criticism directed at the authorities for allegedly ignoring repeated warnings from the Muslim community that hate crimes against them were increasing.
Security agencies were further accused to failing to record hate crimes and focusing too hard on the risk of Islamist terrorism, at the cost of turning blind eye to the emerging threat posed by white supremacists.
Prime Minister Ardern, in contrast, won global praise for her compassionate response to the attack and swiftly passing laws banning the deadliest types of semi-automatic weapons.
She also headed a global movement against online extremism.
In October, Ardern won a second term in office in a landslide election victory. Her centre-left Labour Party won 49 percent of the national vote to see of its main challenger, the conservative National Party, which won 27 percent.