Jacinda Ardern says Auckland terrorist attack 'carried out by an individual - not a faith'

Source: 1News

Jacinda Ardern says she is “absolutely gutted” after hearing of today’s terror incident at a West Auckland supermarket.

The man was shot by police after attacking six people at Countdown LynnMall, three of those people are now critically injured in hospital.

The Sri Lankan national had been under 24/7 surveillance by police tactical teams after becoming a person of interest to police in 2016.

Ardern agreed her heart sank after hearing of the attack today.

“I know we had been doing everything that we could, everything that we could,” she said at a press conference.

"What happened today was despicable. It was hateful. It was wrong," Ardern said. "It was carried out by an individual - not a faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity – but an individual person who was gripped by ideology that is not supported here, by anyone, by any community."

She said outside of someone being in prison, “constant monitoring and surveillance” is one of the strongest tools the Government has in its toolbox.

"But to reassure the public there are not many who fall into the extremist category. I can give you that assurance."

When asked if it was “less than 10” Ardern responded that there are “very few” and said it would not be appropriate for her to speak about numbers.

“I’ve known about this individual for some time” and has been known as a threat since 2016 and by law could not be kept in prison.

“Agencies were using every single possible means available to them to protect the New Zealand public from this individual,” adding many parts of the law were accessed to try and provide protection from him.

Ambulances outside Auckland's LynnMall following a terrorist attack in a Countdown supermarket

She said “the law was used” to pursue his interest in extremist activity but fell short of being able to send him to prison. 

Six people have been hospitalised with stab wounds.