Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 August 2019

New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern vows to never speak Christchurch killer's name

In a sombre address, the prime minister also promised tougher gun control

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the house at Parliament on March 19, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. Getty Images
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the house at Parliament on March 19, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed never to speak the name of the man accused of the Christchurch terror attacks and has urged the public to instead remember the victims.

Addressing parliament on Tuesday for the first time since Friday's mass shooting, in which 50 people were killed at two mosques in Christchurch, Ms Ardern described the event as “forever a day etched in our collective memories” but said she would give the perpetrator nothing except “the full force of the law in New Zealand”.

“Speak the names of those who were lost rather than the man who took them. He may seek notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing, not even his name,” she said.

An Australian man, 28, appeared briefly in court on Saturday, charged with one count of murder. More charges are expected following the worst peacetime mass shooting in New Zealand history.

"The terror attack in Christchurch on Friday was the worst act of terrorism on our shores," the prime minister said. "It was in fact one of the worst globally in recent times."

Opening the session of parliament with an "as salaam alaikum" message of peace to Muslims, Ms Ardern promised to launch an inquiry into the twin mosques shooting and to enact stronger gun laws.

"The clear lesson from history around the world is that to make our community safer, the time to act is now," she said.

"I know that this might for a short period create a small degree of uncertainty amongst some gun owners, including those who possess guns for legitimate reasons, and I particularly acknowledge those in our rural communities. I want to assure you that the work that we are doing is not directed at you.

"In fact, I strongly believe that the vast majority of gun owners in New Zealand will agree with the sentiment that change needs to occur."

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Christchurch shootings: the faces of those whose identity has been confirmed so far from among the 50 victims

Updated: March 19, 2019 06:21 PM

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