"We find that New Zealand Police’s administration of the firearms licensing system did not meet required standards. The reasons for this include a lack of guidance and training for licensing staff and incomplete guidance for dealing with applications where nominated referees cannot be interviewed in person," the report said, adding that no failure was found "in information sharing between the relevant Public sector agencies."
Apart from the investigation, the commission has developed 44 recommendations to the government to prevent similar attacks in the future and strengthen New Zealand's counterterrorism system. The report, among other things, proposed new legislation aimed at criminalizing planning or preparing a terrorist attack, as well as recommended to strengthen laws regarding hate speech.
"The Government accepts the findings of its report and agrees in principle to the 44 recommendations. Our response to these will help strengthen New Zealand's Counter-Terrorism system as well as enhance cohesion across our varied communities," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, as cited in the government's statement.
The report on the mosque attack faults also established that New Zealand's security agencies were "almost exclusively" focused on Islamist terror risks, while the massacre was committed by a white supremacist gunman.
"The Commission made no findings that these issues would have stopped the attack. But these were both failings nonetheless and for that I apologise," Ardern added.
The independent commission was established following the attack to investigate what government bodies knew about the perpetrator's activities before the incident, as well as measures that these agencies could have taken to prevent the tragedy.
On 15 March 2019, New Zealand was rocked by two mass shootings at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Center in the central city of Christchurch. The tragedy left 51 people dead and 50 others wounded. The attacker, then a 28-year-old Australia native, live-streamed the massacre on Facebook, and the video later appeared on other online platforms.