© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

Royal Commission Mosque attacks report deadline extended

Emma Olsen
Al Noor Mosque Christchurch
Al Noor Mosque Christchurch  Mitchell Redman

The Royal Commission has extended its report back date for the March 15 2019 attacks following delays due to COVID-19

Minister of Internal Affairs Tracey Martin has confirmed the report from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the attacks on two Christchurch Mosques, originally scheduled for December 10 2019, has been extended to July 31 2020.

"The Royal Commission requested a further extension on its report due to delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and cabinet has agreed to this," she said.

There have been major disruptions to the Royal Commission's work with staff members working from home during lockdown and not being able to access secure physical environments to review sensitive information. 

Key state sector agencies have had to divert their resources, affecting the Royal Commission's ability to finalise sensitive elements of its report.

"I am aware that a further delay in the reporting date may disappoint and concern some people from New Zealand's Muslim communities. However, I am confident those communities will understand and appreciate the implication of the COVID-19 state of emergency on both the Royal Commission and on relevant agencies. 

"Extending the report-back date will allow the agencies to respond appropriately and follow natural justice processes to ensure the integrity of the final report."

A senior member of the Muslim Community Denise Jaeger said if the extension enabled their community to have the best quality report, allowing for a more vigorous, robust and accurate report, it was well worth it.

"You also have to acknowledge that it prolongs one of the important steps in healing and obtaining closure. Which for some people is a day by day, step by step process.

"But I think everyone would agree if the extension is used for the very best report, using the best practice and it will give us the best outcome, then that's great."

The Royal Commission invites anyone with relevant information to get in touch with them here.