NZ Officials Regret Allowing Alleged Christchurch Shooter To Send Letter

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 28: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media during a press conference at the Justice and Emergency Services precinct on March 28, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zeal... CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 28: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media during a press conference at the Justice and Emergency Services precinct on March 28, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The Prime Minister today announced that new legislation for tighter gun controls would be introduced to Parliament next week. Ardern will attend a National Remembrance Service on Friday honouring the victims of the Christchurch terror attacks. 50 people were killed, and dozens were injured in Christchurch on Friday, March 15 when a gunman opened fire at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques. The attack is the worst mass shooting in New Zealand's history. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images) MORE LESS

New Zealand officials expressed regret in allowing the alleged Christchurch mosque gunman to send a hand-written letter from his prison cell, according to a statement obtained by the Associated Press Wednesday.

The six-page letter by alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant ended up on 4chan, a message board popular for expressing white supremacist views. (News of alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s death by an apparent suicide was posted on 4chan before official reports were out.)

The Tarrant letter, dated July 4, which appears to be written in pencil in a small notepad, is addressed to a person named “Alan” in Russia. Tarrant reportedly wrote about a one-month trip he took to Russia in 2015 and warns that a “great conflict” is coming.

Tarrant also thanked “Alan” for postage stamps that he apparently sent and added that he’ll have to hide them from guards.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis admitted in the statement Wednesday that the prison system shouldn’t have allowed Tarrant to send the letter.

“I have made myself clear that this cannot happen again,” Davis said, according to the AP.

Davis also noted that all New Zealand prisoners have rights to send and receive mail. He added that the prison system can withhold correspondence in a “very limited” range of circumstances and that some other letters Tarrant had attempted to send or receive were withheld.

“We have never had to manage a prisoner like this before — and I have asked questions around whether our laws are now fit for purpose and asked for advice on what changes we may now need to make,” Davis said.

The Corrections Department echoed Davis’ sentiments in the statement Wednesday.

“On review, we acknowledge that this letter should have been withheld,” the department said, according to the AP. “We have made changes to the management of this prisoner’s mail to ensure that our robust processes are as effective as we need them to be.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also weighed in on the matter Wednesday.

“I think every New Zealander would have an expectation that this individual should not be able to share his hateful message from behind bars,” Ardern told reporters in Tuvalu, where she is attending the Pacific Islands Forum. “Obviously, this is an offender who has a very specific goal in mind, in terms of sharing his propaganda, so we should have been prepared for that.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: