David Shanks says document ‘deliberately constructed to inspire murder and terrorism’, as more than 1,000 New Zealanders register to hand in guns
New Zealand’s chief censor has banned a document shared by the man allegedly responsible for killing 50 people in two
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 people so far have opted to hand in their weapons following a ban on assault rifles and military-style semi-automatics (MSSAs) .
David Shanks, the chief censor, officially classed the so-called manifesto as “objectionable” and told anyone in possession of it to destroy it.
“There is an important distinction to be made between ‘hate speech,’ which may be rejected by many right-thinking people, but which is legal to express, and this type of publication, which is deliberately constructed to inspire further murder and terrorism,” Shanks said in making his decision.
He said the document “crosses the line” by promoting, encouraging and justifying acts of murder and terrorist violence against identified groups of people.
“New Zealanders can all play a part in denying those who exhort hatred, killing and terror,” Shanks said. “Do not support the murderous objectives of its author by republishing or distributing it.”
The document, which lays out the alleged murderer’s views, was posted on various social media platforms and was also sent to media outlets and the office of the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, minutes before the attack began.
Shanks told members of the public to delete any copies of the document, along with posts or links to it.
Authorities have also banned video of the fatal shootings, including edited footage and still images.
Ardern on Monday announced a ban on firearms that extends to related parts used to convert guns into MSSAs, and all high-capacity magazines. Police say they are receiving hundreds of calls a day about the ban with more than 1,000 people registering to hand their firearms in.
Corrections minister Kelvin Davis was one among thousands who surrendered a semi-automatic rifle, which he used for hunting.
They included Labour’s corrections minister Kelvin Davis, who surrendered a semi-automatic .22 rifle to police.
The total number of firearms in New Zealand is estimated to be about 1.2m to 1.5m for a country with 245,000 firearms licences. Military-style semi-automatics can cost from $200 to more than $10,000 and there are at least 15,000 registered in
New Zealand , according to police figures.
The government has also put in place a gun buyback scheme, expected to cost between $100m and $200m.
Tensions are still high across the country with concertgoers at a Wellington music festival on Saturday being evacuated for 20 minutes. Police led the action after they identified a man with suspected rightwing tattoos acting suspiciously. They later called it an “innocent misunderstanding” and the concert went on.
On Sunday evening more than 10,000 people are expected to turn out in Christchurch for a vigil to remember those who lost their lives. It will feature prayers from the local Imam, as well as songs and haka.
The opposition National party leader Simon Bridges has called for a royal commission into New Zealand’s security and intelligence agencies.
“A royal commission is the only suitable level of inquiry to ensure this is investigated thoroughly and independently. We need to understand whether this could have been prevented. It will need to ask hard questions about whether our security and intelligence agencies had their focus in the right places,” he said.
“Our security risk has now changed and New Zealanders need to be kept safe. The royal commission should look at the past, and parliament should get on with actions for the future.”
A national remembrance service for the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack, and all those affected by it, will be held at 10am on Friday 29 March, Ardern announced on Sunday.
The service will be held in Christchurch in Hagley Park and will be jointly led by the government of New Zealand, the city of Christchurch, Ngāi Tahu and the Muslim community.
Considerations are being given to simultaneously broadcasting the service to events in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin and providing links for events in other towns and cities.
“The national remembrance service provides an opportunity for Cantabrians, New Zealanders and people all around the world to come together as one to honour the victims of the terrorist attack,” Ardern said.
“In the week since the unprecedented terror attack there has been an outpouring of grief and love in our country. The service will be a chance to once again show that New Zealanders are compassionate, inclusive and diverse, and that we will protect those values.
“The terrorist attack has been significant for many countries. We anticipate international guests and visitors will want to attend and to join us in our sorrow and support for the victims and their families.”
Meanwhile 15,000 people have signed a petition campaigning for Ardern to be awarded the Nobel peace prize for leadership in the wake of the attack.
Facebook, where the live footage was streamed to as the attack unfolded, has also promised changes to its platform. It took 29 minutes to detect the livestreamed video, which was eight minutes longer than it took police to arrest the gunman. About 1.3m copies of the video were blocked from Facebook but 300,000 copies were published and shared.
Facebook spokesman Simon Dilner told Radio New Zealand that it could have done a better job and was prepared for regulatory action.
“Of course we hate it when bad people, including this attacker … use our service in this way.”
Dilner said the whole company was saddened by the attack and their “hearts are with New Zealand”.
“Of course people are looking to figure out, ‘How can we stop this ever happening again,’ and we know we play a part in that … We’re focused on the safety of people in New Zealand, we’re focused on the investigation.”
Several companies, including the ANZ and ASB banks, have stopped advertising on Facebook after the company was widely condemned by the public.