Breaking news: March housing prices smashed previous records at Barfoot & Thompson More soon.

GCSB and SIS flag lack of intel on Christchurch attack, as Govt announces inquiry into what authorities knew or should've known

GCSB and SIS flag lack of intel on Christchurch attack, as Govt announces inquiry into what authorities knew or should've known
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

The Government will launch an inquiry into the specific circumstances leading up to the terrorist attacks in Christchurch on March 15.

The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, Government Communications Security Bureau, Police, Customs and Immigration will be scrutinised; the purpose being to find out whether they knew, or could’ve or should’ve known, about the activities of the accused murderer, Brenton Tarrant.

The GCSB welcomed the inquiry, but noted it had not “collected or received from partners any relevant intelligence ahead of the terrorist attacks”.

Its director-general Andrew Hampton said: “New Zealand’s intelligence and security agencies do not currently have the legal authority, technical means or resources to actively monitor all online activity that occurs in New Zealand.

“In addition, all intelligence and security agencies are grappling with the challenges of encryption and closed online communities...

"It is of the utmost importance that the public are assured that GCSB acted lawfully and appropriately."

Likewise, the director-general of the NZSIS, Rebecca Kitterage, said: “The person charged with murder has not ever been brought to the attention of NZSIS and is not known to NZSIS or our Australian counterpart.

“Over the last nine months, NZSIS has increased its effort to obtain a better picture of the threat posed to New Zealand by far-right extremist groups.

“The NZSIS has over recent years received a number of tips from the public concerning right wing extremism and has taken each one seriously.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the inquiry would “look at whether there were any impediments to the sharing of information, such as legislative or intelligence sharing challenges”.

It would consider the accused’s travel movements to and from New Zealand, as well as internationally, his activities in New Zealand, use of social media and connections to others.

Ardern said the terms of reference for the inquiry was being finalised, with decisions around who would lead it and the form it would take, to be made “shortly”.  

Cabinet hadn't yet decided whether it would be a ministerial, public or royal inquiry. 

“Our key considerations will be public confidence in the work, timeliness, and the management of classified information,” Ardern said.

“We’re also mindful of course that criminal proceedings are underway.”

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

Unfortunately, I think there is very little that could have been known about this awful piece of humanity, unless our govt resources are used to trawl fringe websites where similar views (often little more than dark fantasy) are expressed.

There are people who are totally against the GCSB, “it infringes on our rights to privacy” etc. There were protests in Christchurch a few years back against the GCSB. Are these same people now slamming the GSCB/NZCIS for not doing enough to detect this monster?

Strawman argument NZdan..

They gave up privacy but didn't get security. To them, it'll be a case of "See? All that given up, for nothing gained."

"an inquiry into the specific circumstances leading up to the terrorist attacks" And therein lies the problem. This is too superficial. they should be digging deeper. They need to learn from human history, to learn and understand that the true underlying drivers of such crime lie in the consequences of social economic policies that seek to preserve and protect wealth, power and privilege, policies that create racial and social division, drive economic inequity, deny opportunities for the majority to the benefit of a few.

Politicians the world over need to look to themselves to understand the causes of these crimes. This man is Australian and the Australian Government is one of the worst western Governments to espouse racial hatred and division. Their Prime Minister described Kiwis as being family, yet they treat us worse than other nationalities when we move to Australia.

The rhetoric from politicians, the authorities and many of the public exposes their superficiality and ignorance. There is much talk about the weapons, but semi-automatic weapons have being available to licenced gun owners for decade with few problems. But how many questions are being asked about how a foreign national could easily get a firearms licence, and then legally by his weapons?

The rhetoric around "military style" semi-automatic weapons is rubbish. They talk about weapons with pistol grips and large magazines. People should take a look at the rifles issued to soldiers in WW2. They did not have pistol grips, they were bolt action and they only had an eight round magazine. Every single rifle that is built today is a military style weapon!

The truth is the weapon is largely irrelevant. Take away the semi-automatic AR15, and the pump action shotgun, or leveraction rifle could cycle almost as fast. A car or truck can be as devastating.

What our politicians need to undertand is that this crime is a consequence of theirs, and their predecessors actions and policies. They need to understand that allowing housing to become unaffordable , creating homelessness even amongst working families causes frustration and anger. That unblanced power and privilege has consequences. Doing nothing when you have a responsiblity to act on behalf of your constituents has consequences!

"" true underlying drivers of such crime lie in the consequences of social economic policies that seek to preserve and protect wealth, power and privilege, policies that create racial and social division, drive economic inequity, deny opportunities for the majority to the benefit of a few "". Sounds as if the author has a Marxist view based on 200 years of industrial civilisation. Compare with 100,000 years of pre-history in PNG where the Melanesians split into 800 very diferent languages and most tribes were at permanent warfare with one another.
The natural underlying nature of human beings is to identify witha group and then treat other groups as enemies. For a modern example see gang warfare. Competitive capitalism has been a major unintential force for reduction in crime since every contract depends on trust. Death by both crime and warfare has been in significant decline since start of the industrial revolution; it has been dramatic. I have lived for 70 years with no chance of being at war - when in recorded history did that last happen?
BTW I agree with almost all of Murray86 last paragraphs with only a doubt that homelessness was a significant cause of this most recent atrocity.

"The natural underlying nature of human beings is to identify witha group and then treat other groups as enemies"

Yes exactly.
It is only (temporary) largess courtesy of mass burning of fossil fuels which allows everyone to (temporarily) consume like kings.
Its a false bow to conclude the underlying nature has changed one iota

I agree that we are invariably a competitive species, and that that competitiveness can lead to direct, open conflict. But that is not an excuse to not try to rise above it and consider our political processes. competition should be contrained to sports, what ever they may be. We must also recognise that within a constrained, finite system resources will be limited. Preserving them for the benefit of a few will only create problems.

Homelessness is a symptom of the deeper malaise, that ultimately leads to hate crimes. Politicians creating policies that result in deprivation leads to frustration and anger. It is human nature to lash out at percieved enemies (take a look at the origins of WW2) rather than addressing the real problems. Keep asking why, and don't accept superficial answers. Why did he attack Muslims? Why did he think Muslims in NZ were the enemy? Why did he use a miltary warfare term (target rich environment) when we are not at war? Why does he think we are at war? Why did he do it in NZ? In just those few questions the answers come back to political policies.

And no I am not a Marxist. I am however an idealist, but understand that that is an impossibility. But i also believe we should never stop trying to achieve it. I believe Marxism is as flawed and blind to human nature as is Capitalism.

And i am a little younger than you, ex-military and i did have the opportunity to see combat.

were you conscripted? I'm a very peaceful (timid, scared) fellow and bless my luck at avoiding war - not just the fighting but the rape and pillage and burning food stores causing starvation which may be the worst death of all. Having something to lose is the best way of stopping violence. That includes a place of residence. WW1 and WW2 were not caused by capitalists (OK except the arms manufacturers) because war is bad for trade. The invisible hand of capitalism works to create a peace loving middle class with money to spend and things they think they need. It may lead to destruction of the earth's ecology but that is another issue; I've not noticed autocratic govt being any better at preserving nature.

"opportunity to see combat" doesn't sound like a positive thing to me.
Historically about 80% of women have had kids and about 40% of men, and at many times the proportion of male breeders in populations have been only 10-20%. That means there has been tremendous evolutionary pressure on males to compete for the ability to have kids - inevitably leading to conflict, and military adventurism amongst low status males where with luck they can increase their chances of being able to breed. End result is a strong tendency to violence amongst young men. This problem is inevitably made worse in cultures that practice polygamy.

So if you want to keep violent tendencies in young men in check then it is probably necessary to ensure that more of them have the ability to find mates. This is a problem in western society as young women are generally only interested in about 20% of the male population (though most will eventually settle for lower status males if they can't find anything better), leaving more unhappy young men that are more likely to look for other options - Incels, Jihadis etc. No easy answers to be had.

"competition should be contrained to sports, what ever they may be..."

Multi choice question...
Do we follow American foreign policy because
a) they have the New York Yankees
b) because they have the biggest war / resource gathering machine?

If a nation doesn't have the resources to sustain the (demanded) living standards of its inhabitants, it must trade, beg or steal them from another...

"‘One final thought I should like to leave with you. High-energy consumption has always been a prerequisite of political power. The tendency is for political power to be concentrated in an ever-smaller number of countries. Ultimately, the nation which control – the largest energy resources will become dominant. If we give thought to the problem of energy resources, if we act wisely and in time to conserve what we have and prepare well for necessary future changes, we shall insure this dominant position for our own country.’"

Speech from 1957 Predicting Peak Oil - Rear Admiral Hyman Rickover

"policies that seek to preserve and protect wealth, power and privilege, policies that create racial and social division, drive economic inequity, deny opportunities for the majority"...

which so called policies are these?
Globalism, money printing , mass deficits and socialism through mass social benefit programs ?

Because the reverse is true.
The policies now in place are trying to spread wealth which isnt there ... its a debt fuelled Ponzi fiction.
There are too many people all wanting MORE despite the fact we are hitting physical (and debt) limits.
PHYSICS and diminishing returns doesnt care about policy .. while rising debt works as a stimulus BUT only until the return on that debt falls too low...

The holding hands we are all one singalong will soon morph into factional groups when the next GFC hits.

the reverse is not true HnE. Try these for a very narrow example, some international, some local. Who got bailed out from the GFC? Private banks while mum and dad investors lost their shirts. In this country our deposits in a bank are the banks property not our own. In a crisis, under the OBR the banks can give us a 'haircut'. who are these laws protecting? Private business's. What did successive Governments do to put firm measures in to address the housing crisis. Bugger all. Why because too many politicians are invested, and real meaningful actions are too hard. The so called 'free market' economy favours the wealthy, privileged and powerful, as is clearly obvious now. What is being done to roll it back? Bugger all. All policies to create economic division. what of the policies that seek to put Maori above others? Most of the problems that plague Maori are not unique to Maori but afflict all low socio-economic groups, but then we are not allowed to say that.

"The so called 'free market' economy favours the wealthy, privileged and powerful, as is clearly obvious now. "

True - cant argue with that. Thats where Capitalism was destined to end up.
BUT if we spread the money/ wealth (=energy claims) we just deplete resources even faster...

"What is being done to roll it back?"

Nothing. Its not a problem policy can solve - ultimately it’s an energy depletion problem.The world is effectively in oil deficit—we are borrowing money against a future where we are supposed to get ourselves into oil credit again... so we borrow at an ever faster rate because we know no different–but energy supplies get tighter and tighter—and everyone gets squeezed eventually

To confront the reality would have been to let banks collapse in 08.

The actions taken since are only can kicking at best to try and make things appear solvent.
But the wealth really isnt there.

People often talk about 'true communism' to distiguish between an ideal version and all the communist states that have failed. It is worth mentioning 'true capitalism' by its definition means many businesses fail - so balancing the wealthy successes are many more poor failures. To be viable capitalism needs an endless supply of new businesses. OK we can see Amazon and Apple and Google and Microsoft and Uber and AirBnB - all recently created and successful but there is plenty of evidence that competition is in decline - many business areas with just a couple of competing businesses and they often have common shareholders who will resist anything ground breaking.

I fear you are right - capitalism has been quite remarkable in creating and spreading wealth but this very success means it brings the time when the worlds resources are all consumed nearer.

"The truth is the weapon is largely irrelevant." - Bullshit - but I agree with the majority of your post

Sounds like the evil prick spent years planning. He could have obtained or built automatic weapons illicitly in that time (a hobbiest machinist could modify available gun parts to create one in a few weeks). So I agree the weapon is largely irrelevant as he would have likely have found something more devastating (large bomb, automatic weapon) if he didn't have the easy option of a semi automatic weapon.

"easy option of a semi automatic weapon" - so lets take an easy option off the table then? To make and plant a bomb takes a lot of time and skill. To spray a room full of people in prayer takes the weapon is relevant for %$$U$(* sake

Terrorists routinely kill 10's of people using bombs or trucks, happens in middle east all the time, and bombs are easy - I manufactured 10's of kg of gunpowder as a lazy young teen experimenting with rockets and knew some uni friends who had dabbled too. It has only become easier now with widespread availability of info on the web. A methodical calculating patient terrorist like Tarrant will always be able to kill a lot of people through preparation and surprise, regardless of whether they use guns. So sorry no, the weapon used is not the problem, and I don't think a lack of semi-automatics would have stopped him or reduced the body count, the patient focused loner psychology of Tarrent is what made him so lethal and contrasts strongly with the usual idiots arrested for planning terrorist attacks (like the teenager arrested for planning an ISIS style car rampage in Chch in 2017). That said I have no problem banning semi-automatics, they don't seem to have any useful purpose.

See Australia post Port Arthur

Frazz, you demonstrate the superficiality of the majority of the debate, and asked for actions. If we take the weapon off the table will we stop these acts? No! Why not? Answer that question fully and you will find what needs to be done, and the weapon will not matter.

I do not disagree that there is little to no requirement for semi-automtic weapons to be available. But it wasn't the weapon that killed those people. It was the person wielding it. That is what we need to address. Cars kill hundreds of people every year, do you want to ban those too? Start thinking !

But cars aren't designed to kill; guns are optimised for that.

True David, they are just a tool. But again it is how the tool is used. A tool not designed to kill, and still be devastating when applied to that use. Focussing on the tool allows the authorities to not address the real underlying problems. What do you think that if they banned all firearms, then they would have solved the problem of mass killings? Or would they have created other problems?

whne you go to a Doctor, do you ask him to treat the symptom or to look for the cause? I want the Government and authorities to dig deeper. They will ban semi-automatic firearms, and they will pat themselves on the back for it, but will they ban foreign nationals from getting a Firearms License, or will they take a look at the consequences of their own policies and look at who it will disenfranchise and modify them in consideration of the consequences? Will they ban race based law, will they the Australian Government stop preaching their racist, cultural, xenophobic hatred? Or will they just seek to put more controls on the masses, eroding more freedoms and rights because of the rare events like this?

As one of the relatively few people in this country with a CAT B pistol licence, I still struggle to see the need for the military style assault rifles in this country and they should have been banned back in the 1980's when Australia got rid of them.The urge for the owners of AR-15's to modify them is a reflection of their state of mind and at the very least their attitude of entitlement. My hope is however, that there is not a massive knee jerk reaction to this event and multiple gun types get hit with a ban.It surprised me that these type of weapons don't have their serial numbers logged against the owners like the pistols have to be. There is just no trace-ability as to who has these weapons and if there is a ban they don't even know who the current owners are.

Richard Fernandez (Belmont Club) fingers identity politics and humanity's default setting of Tribalism/Us vs the Other, for the underlying motives on all sides. Trouble is, identity politics, playing as it does straight into the chimp brain within us all, wins elections.

The old devils are on the loose and the problem is what to do now. One option is to deliver even higher doses of political correctness and demographic replacement. But perhaps the absolute worst thing politicians can do is respond by collecting guns, imposing hate speech restrictions, and announcing open borders. In the current atmosphere of distrust toward authority, such actions can destroy the only asset a state faced with ethnic conflict has: the public belief that it is above the fray and won't sell anyone out.

Couldn't agree less ...

The horrible truth is that this awful event is going to drive the sort of disagreement where we'll all have strong views.

Wouldn't be surprised to find that this guy was on steroids.
My son who is a gym junkie says that one of the tell tale signs is the head and the size of the jaw.
His opinion ,not mine.

I am pretty certain a blood sample would have been taken immediately after apprehension. It is another aspect of the crime that we need to face up to.

That probably isn't factually correct. Straight testosterone will increase the size of the forehead and joints, plus also cause male pattern baldness with excess hair elsewhere. But growth promoting drugs are more sophisticated and don't have those side effects. Roid rage is also nonsense. As a side note though, no artificial stimulant for muscle growth is without consequences. Don't do it.

Why cannot we open a rewarding system to report all the potential attacks from all parts of life? That includes online and offline. Web and deep web. The main focus should be residents' security. And this should be open to participate and everyone should accept this for overall security. Initially, this can be a pilot project. If any threat is mitigated the person should be rewarded a highly amount of financial rewards. The goal is not to create a spying society like China, rather to extend the current resources be more vigilant.

Secondly, why cannot all the countries run some continuous DDoS attack against the deep web forum or any risky sites on top of blacklisting them from DNS? The blacklisting should be public to whole over the world and anyone can report these.

Thirdly, why do we need still gun in our life? These should be widely banned in the entire world except the enforcement team. Anyone having it should be reported right away.

Your access to our unique content is free - always has been. But ad revenues are diving so we need your direct support.

Become a supporter

Thanks, I'm already a supporter.