What is a Royal Commission of Inquiry?
A Royal Commission is the most serious option available to Government to independently investigate critically important issues like the attack on Christchurch mosques. It investigates the facts, recommends changes to prevent future recurrences and reports to the Governor General.

What is the purpose of the Royal Commission?
This Royal Commission of Inquiry is required to examine:

  • what relevant State sector agencies knew prior to 15 March 2019, about the activities of Brenton Tarrant, the individual charged with offences in relation to the 15 March 2019 attacks on the Al-Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch
  • what actions (if any) relevant State sector agencies took in light of that knowledge
  • whether there were any additional measures that relevant State sector agencies could have taken to prevent the attack
  • what additional measures should be taken by relevant State sector agencies to prevent such attacks in the future.

The Royal Commission must therefore investigate the individual’s activities before the attack, including relevant information from his time in Australia

  • his arrival and residence in New Zealand
  • his travel within New Zealand, and internationally
  • how he obtained a gun licence, weapons, and ammunition
  • his use of social media and other online media
  • his connections with others, whether in New Zealand or internationally.

You can read more about the Royal Commission’s purpose in the Terms of Reference as set out in the Order in Council. 

How can the public help?
The Royal Commission is interested in what the public think about a few things including:

  • How could government agencies make you feel safer?
  • What worries you most about the safety and security of your community?
  • What do you think government agencies should do to stop terrorist attacks in NZ?

Public submissions are open from 9am 1 July to 5pm 23 August 2019. 

How do people make a submission?
By going to the submissions page of this website, by sending an email to submissions@christchurch.royalcommission.nz or by sending a letter to P.O Box 680 Wellington. 

What if people need help with their submission or need help translating information?
Anyone needing help should call 0800 222 987 and we will work with people to assist. 

What is the purpose of the Muslim Community Reference Group?
This group will help to ensure the Royal Commission process builds in appropriate and accessible opportunities for Muslim communities to take part in the inquiry. 

What criteria has been used to decide the membership of the Muslim Community Reference Group?
The following criteria was applied to ensure a fair and balance representation. 

  • Gender with a desire to achieve a 50/50 ratio, if possible
  • Ethnicity with a desire to ensure a diverse range of ethnicities are represented
  • Age with a desire to ensure that the Reference Group includes a range of ages (including youth, adults and elders)
  • Religious sects with a desire to ensure appropriate religious sect representation, including ensuring both Sunni and Shia are represented
  • Geographical location with a desire to ensure a geographical spread of Reference Group members, while acknowledging the attacks took place in Christchurch.

What can’t the Royal Commission do?
There are several matters that the Royal Commission cannot inquire into or report on, according to the Terms of Reference. In summary, the Royal Commission cannot inquire into:

  • The guilt or innocence of any individual who has been, or may be, charged with offences in relation to the attack
  • Amendments to firearms legislation
  • Activity by entities/organisations outside the State sector (such as media platforms)
  • The response to the attack (once it had begun)

A Royal Commission cannot determine legal rights and liabilities. Findings and recommendations are not binding for the Government.

When does the Royal Commission report its findings?
The Royal Commission must report its findings by 10 December 2019.

Who is leading and working on the Royal Commission?
The Royal Commission Members are Supreme Court Justice Hon Sir William Young KNZM (Chair) and Jacqui Caine. They are supported by ‘officers’ including legal counsel assisting, administration, research and communications support.

Where is the Royal Commission team located?
The team will have a presence in Wellington and Christchurch. The Royal Commission team will travel to other areas as required to talk to people and organisations.

Who sets the Terms of Reference?
The Royal Commission was initiated by the Government. The Government established the Terms of Reference, defining what must be investigated.

Who decides how the Royal Commission should operate?
The Inquiries Act 2013 sets out that a Royal Commission can determine its own procedures. The Chair (appointed by the Governor General) and other appointed ‘members’ decide the approach. The Royal Commission is independent of Government. A Royal Commission can inquire into any matters it sees fit, to investigate issues consistent with the Inquiries Act and Terms of Reference. Witnesses can be compelled to appear or provide evidence.

What process will the Royal Commission follow?
An update will be made on the website, in the minutes section this week. 

Does the Official Information Act apply to the Royal Commission of Inquiry?
The Official Information Act 1982 does not apply to information held by, or evidence or submissions provided to, the Royal Commission. Once the Royal Commission reports to the Governor-General, most information held by the Royal Commission is subject to the Official Information Act unless section 15 orders have been issued under the Inquiries Act 2013.

Can people register for updates about the Inquiry?
Yes, it’s easy to register for updates on the website. All that’s required is an email address, no other information is needed and email addresses are not stored for any other purposes.

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