Jacinda Ardern Announces Royal Commission Into Christchurch Terror Attack

A Royal Commission will be held into the circumstances surrounding the Christchurch terrorist attack and whether it could have been stopped.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the top-level inquiry would look at the actions of security agencies, and "what could have or should have been done to prevent the attack" on two mosques that killed 50 people.

"It is important that no stone is left unturned to get to the bottom of how this attack of terrorism occurred, and what -- if any -- opportunities we had to stop it," she said on Monday.

Since the shootings in Christchurch on March 15, questions have been asked about how the accused gunman, a 28-year-old Australian man, was not flagged by security agencies in Australia or New Zealand.

READ MORE: Ardern On Discovering The Christchurch Shooter Was Australian

Ardern's Cabinet had previously agreed on holding an inquiry, but had not decided what form of investigation would be held.

"Royal Commissions are usually reserved for matters of the gravest public importance and it is clearly the appropriate form of inquiry for this instance," she said on Monday.

Intelligence agencies-- including the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) -- along with customs, immigration and any other relevant government departments or agencies will be subject to investigation.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Image: Getty

"There will be a focus on whether our intelligence community was concentrating its resources appropriately and whether there were any reports that could or should have alerted them to this attack," Ardern said.

It follows the prime minister's announcement of a ban on the sale of all military-style semi-automatic weapons -- in short, what she described as every weapon used in the terrorist attack.

READ MORE: Jacinda Ardern Announces Ban On Military-Style Semi-Automatic Weapons

The accused gunman legally bought at least five guns that were used in the shootings after modifying them.

He has been charged with one count of murder but is expected to face more charges when he returns to court next week.

Featured image: Getty