As set out in chapter 1, our Terms of Reference required us to make findings on whether there was any information provided or otherwise available to relevant Public sector agencies that could or should have alerted them to the terrorist attack.
We approached this question by asking all 217 Public sector agencies (see the appendix) to give us any information they held about the individual, looking at what information was held by Public sector agencies about the individual and considering whether such information could or should have alerted them to the terrorist attack. An agency with information that could or should have alerted it to the terrorist attack would be a relevant Public sector agency for the purposes of our inquiry.
Ten Public sector agencies held information about the individual before the terrorist attack. We set out what information each agency knew about the individual, and what they did with that information, under each of the following headings:
- New Zealand Police.
- Immigration New Zealand.
- New Zealand Customs Service.
- Ministry for Primary Industries.
- New Zealand Post.
- Southern District Health Board.
- Accident Compensation Corporation.
- Ministry of Health.
- New Zealand Transport Agency.
- Parliamentary Service.
6.2 New Zealand Police
New Zealand Police held information about a car accident that the individual had while driving in Whanganui on 6 May 2013 during a visit to New Zealand (see Part 4, chapter 2). The individual had pulled over onto a grass verge to let another vehicle drive past, but his vehicle rolled forward off the road and down the verge. New Zealand Police attended the accident and recorded the individual’s name and his address in Grafton, Australia and that he was involved in a single vehicle collision (meaning no other vehicles were involved). The individual was not charged and not issued with an infringement notice.
Application for a New Zealand firearms licence
New Zealand Police held copies of all the documents relating to the individual’s application for a New Zealand standard firearms licence, which the individual applied for on 1 September 2017. These documents include his application form and the notes from interviews with the individual and his referees (gaming friend and their parent).
New Zealand Police processed the individual’s firearms licence application. The former District Arms Officer granted his firearms licence on 16 November 2017. The individual’s licence details were added to the National Intelligence Application database (see Part 5, chapter 5).
Firearms and ammunition purchases
New Zealand Police held mail order forms for all the firearms and ammunition the individual purchased online. The former District Arms Officer (or their delegate) checked the information on each mail order form against the individual’s firearms licence details in the National Intelligence Application database.
After confirming that the address on the form matched the address on the individual’s firearms licence, and that he was legally able to purchase the firearms and ammunition with his standard firearms licence, the former District Arms Officer (or their delegate) authorised the form and sent it to the sellers to complete the purchases. This information was collected to authorise the purchase of the firearms and ammunition, not for the purpose of keeping records of firearms and ammunition purchases.
6.3 Immigration New Zealand
Immigration New Zealand held information about the individual’s full legal name, date of birth, nationality, and passport. It held information about the 11 flights the individual took into and out of New Zealand. For each flight, it held information about the carrier, flight number, departure location and arrival location.
Brisbane, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand
Christchurch, New Zealand to Brisbane, Australia
Coolangatta, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand to Coolangatta, Australia
Sydney, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand to Tokyo, Japan, via Hong Kong
Tokyo, Japan to Auckland, New Zealand, via Hong Kong
Dunedin, New Zealand to Brisbane, Australia
Brisbane, Australia to Dunedin, New Zealand, via Christchurch, New Zealand
Dunedin, New Zealand to Brisbane, Australia, via Christchurch, New Zealand
Brisbane, Australia to Dunedin, New Zealand, via Christchurch, New Zealand
Immigration New Zealand had information that the individual travelled to and from Japan with gaming friend in January 2018. Immigration New Zealand also had information that the individual did not travel with anyone else on any of his other flights from 17 August 2017 onwards.
Immigration New Zealand had the individual’s departure and arrival cards from his last two international flights in 2018. On his arrival card of 28 December 2018, the individual said that the country he spent the most time in while he was overseas was Poland. He also listed the countries he had visited in the last 30 days as Australia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (see Part 4, chapter 4).
Immigration New Zealand ran the information it knew about the individual through its automated screening system every time he flew into New Zealand (from 28 March 2013 onwards). This process raised no risks or issues about the individual. No agency ever raised a border alert against the individual and he was never subject to secondary processing at the border when he arrived in New Zealand. He was granted a resident visa and entry permission (or the equivalent under the Immigration Act 1987) each time he arrived in New Zealand.
6.4 New Zealand Customs Service
New Zealand Customs Service knew the individual’s full legal name, date of birth and passport number. It held the same information as Immigration New Zealand did about the individual’s 11 flights into and out of New Zealand between 12 July 1999 and 28 December 2018. It held information about how the individual was processed by New Zealand Customs Service officers each time he crossed the border.
From 17 August 2017 onwards, New Zealand Customs Service knew the following additional information about each of the individual’s flights into and out of New Zealand:
- The individual’s contact details.
- When and where the flights were booked.
- The name of any other person the individual booked to travel with.
- Whether or not the individual paid for his flights and the method of payment.
- Any changes the individual made to his flights after they were booked
- The individual’s connecting domestic flights.
- Whether the individual had any checked baggage.
Like Immigration New Zealand, New Zealand Customs Service had information that the individual travelled to and from Japan with gaming friend in January 2018. It also had information that the individual did not travel with anyone else on any of his other flights from 17 August 2017 onwards.
New Zealand Customs Service ran the information it knew about the individual through its automated targeting rules every time he flew into New Zealand from 28 March 2013 onwards, and every time he flew out of New Zealand from 28 September 2017 onwards. This process raised no risks or issues about the individual.
Exports and imports
New Zealand Customs Service held information on one item that the individual exported from New Zealand on 15 September 2017 and 26 items that the individual imported into New Zealand between 31 October 2017 and 17 January 2019 using courier or fast freight services. Two of the items imported by the individual (ballistic ceramic plates and plastic boards) were used in the terrorist attack (see Part 4, chapter 5), although the descriptions of these items (“Ceramic Plate;2;pcs” and “Plastic Board;2;pcs”) available to the New Zealand Customs Service would not have raised concerns.
New Zealand Customs Service ran its automated commodity-based alerts and rules-based targeting over all the items that the individual exported and imported. None of the items was prohibited or restricted or raised any other concerns. New Zealand Customs Service did not undertake any physical inspections of these imported or exported items.
6.5 Ministry for Primary Industries
The Ministry for Primary Industries held information on five of the items that the individual imported into New Zealand between 31 October 2017 and 17 January 2019. The descriptions of the goods were ambiguous, so they were flagged for further biosecurity risk assessment. These five items were a “zip”, a uniform, a digital camera and the ballistic ceramic plates and plastic boards that the individual used in the terrorist attack (see Part 4, chapter 5). The descriptions of the ballistic ceramic plates and plastic boards (“ceramic plates” and “plastic boards”) available to the Ministry for Primary Industries would not have raised concerns.
We cross-referenced the item listed by the Ministry for Primary Industries as a “zip” with New Zealand Customs Service’s list of items that the individual imported into New Zealand (see above 6.4 New Zealand Customs Service). New Zealand Customs Service’s list includes two items that the “zip” could be – a Zippo lighter or a Keller zip hoodie.
The Ministry for Primary Industries assessed these five items but did not identify any biosecurity concerns. It cleared the items without physical inspection.
6.6 New Zealand Post
New Zealand Post held information about 29 items tracked and couriered to the individual at his home address in Somerville Street, Dunedin, between 26 August 2017 and 22 January 2019. Some of these items (including firearms and the GoPro) were used by the individual in the terrorist attack.
6.7 New Zealand Transport Agency
The New Zealand Transport Agency knew the individual’s full legal name and date of birth. It held information about the individual’s vehicle, including its make, model, colour, licence plate number, country of origin and that it had been earlier imported into New Zealand. It recorded the individual as the vehicle’s new owner and that the vehicle had been inspected and granted a Warrant of Fitness on 2 September 2018. It had information on the individual updating his address to Somerville Street on 15 September 2017.
The New Zealand Transport Agency also held information about two phone calls the individual made on 15 September 2017 and 9 February 2019. The first call was to change his address and the second was to enquire about converting his Australian Driver’s Licence to a New Zealand Driver’s Licence. New Zealand Transport Agency staff dealt with both of his phone queries.
6.8 Southern District Health Board
Steroid and testosterone use
The Southern District Health Board held the individual’s name, date of birth, sex, address and National Hospital Index number.
The Southern District Health Board held a copy of a letter (dated 20 December 2017) from Dunedin Hospital’s Endocrinology Service, responding to a referral from Dunedin South Medical Centre. The letter from the Endocrinology Service concerned the individual’s use of “excessive, unprescribed steroids and testosterone” (see Part 4, chapter 5). It included advice on potential treatment options and offered to meet with the individual if needed.
The Southern District Health Board held copies of the individual’s clinical notes from the injury he sustained on 13 July 2018 when a round of ammunition exploded while he was cleaning his rifle barrel (see Part 4, chapter 5). These notes included the details of the individual’s visit to Dunedin Hospital’s Emergency Department, his referral to the inpatient Ophthalmology Service on 13 July 2018 and his follow-up appointments with the Ophthalmology Service on 16 July 2018 and 23 July 2018. In addition, the clinical notes included the individual’s phone number, marital status and contact details for his sister Lauren Tarrant.
The individual’s injury was investigated and treated by an Emergency Department Registrar on 13 July 2018. The Registrar gave the individual an Accident Compensation Corporation claim form to fill out, so that the Southern District Health Board could be reimbursed for his treatment costs. The individual’s injury was investigated and treated by an Ophthalmology Registrar on 13 July 2018, 16 July 2018 and 23 July 2018. The Ophthalmology Registrar sent a letter advising Dunedin South Medical Centre about the injury and the individual’s treatment plan.
6.9 Accident Compensation Corporation
The Accident Compensation Corporation had the individual’s full legal name, date of birth, sex, National Hospital Index number, address and phone number. The Accident Compensation Corporation held a copy of the individual’s claim form for the treatment provided by the Southern District Health Board for his firearms injury on 13 July 2018. In the accident details section of the form, the individual wrote that he was doing “rifle maintenance” at the time of the accident and that the injury was caused by an “exploding cartridge”. The form also noted that the individual was an “overseas visitor” to New Zealand and that he was not in paid employment.
The Accident Compensation Corporation wrote to the individual on 16 July 2018, stating that they would cover the cost of his treatment and they would pay his treatment provider directly. The Accident Compensation Corporation subsequently covered the cost of the individual’s treatment.
6.10 Ministry of Health
Steroid and testosterone use
The Ministry of Health held data provided by the Southern District Health Board showing that Dunedin Hospital’s Endocrinology Service had written a plan of care for the individual, but it had no details on what the plan of care was for. No actions were taken by the Ministry of Health in response to this information.
The Ministry of Health held data provided by the Southern District Health Board about the treatment the individual received for the injury he received on 13 July 2018. The Ministry of Health did not know that firearms caused the injury.
The Ministry of Health had information:
- that the individual had been to Dunedin Hospital’s Emergency Department on 13 July 2018;
- that the individual’s eye was injured, and that the injury was caused by an explosion of “other materials”;
- about the details of the tests and prescriptions the individual received; and
- that the individual had been treated by the Dunedin Hospital Ophthalmology Service on 13 July 2018, 16 July 2018 and 23 July 2018.
No actions were taken by the Ministry of Health in response to this information.
Primary Health Organisation enrolment
The Ministry of Health knew that the individual enrolled with WellSouth Primary Health Organisation on 12 February 2018 as his Primary Health Organisation. It also knew that Dunedin South Medical Centre was his previous general practice. No actions were taken by the Ministry of Health in response to this information.
6.11 Parliamentary Service
Email regarding the attack
At just after 1.32 pm on 15 March 2019, the individual sent the following email to 34 recipients:
Subject: On the attack in New Zealand today
I was the partisan that committed the assault. I have attached my writings to explain my actions and beliefs as well as provided links to webpages to download the documents below.
The individual’s 74 page manifesto was attached to the email and the email also included links to the file sharing websites that had copies of the manifesto. Although the email itself did not specify the targets of the terrorist attack, masajid in “Christchurch and Linwood” and Ashburton were identified as targets on page eight of the manifesto.
Twenty-eight of the email’s recipients were media organisations or individuals working for media organisations. The remainder of the recipients included the Prime Minister’s Office and others in the New Zealand Parliament. Only one of the recipients – the Parliamentary Service – is a Public sector agency and so was within our Terms of Reference.
A person in the Prime Minister’s Office called the Parliamentary Service’s Security Enablement Team at 1.38 pm to alert them to the email. The Prime Minister’s Office forwarded the email to the Security Enablement Team at 1.39 pm. The email sent directly to the Parliamentary Service was separately forwarded to the Security Enablement Team at 1.40 pm.
The Parliamentary Service’s Security Enablement Team called New Zealand Police via 111 at 1.40 pm and forwarded the email to New Zealand Police’s National Command and Coordination Centre at 1.41 pm.