Wed, 05 Aug 2020

The Government is extending the border exception criteria to enable some offshore victims and support people of the Christchurch mosque attacks to attend the sentencing of the accused beginning on 24 August 2020, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

"We want to support our valued Muslim brothers and sisters who were directly affected by this tragic event and understand that some who are now offshore do want to attend the sentencing," says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

"We have quickly established a process to allow victims and a family member or support person to come to New Zealand using new humanitarian grounds. This is within our intent for the use of this provision."

In order to manage within current isolation and quarantine capacity, those eligible to submit an expression of interest for a border exception under new humanitarian grounds are:

Up to two family members of those killed or one family member and one support person those who were subject to an attempted murder in the attack and one family member or support person to accompany them.

"I am mindful that the time it may take individuals to submit an application, together with the limited commercial airline flights and the managed quarantine requirements, do make the logistics of getting to New Zealand in this timeframe a challenge.

"I understand the Ministry of Justice has been working with the Court to put in place technology options to enable victims who are overseas and unable to travel to view the sentencing hearing and read a Victim Impact Statement remotely.

"New Zealand is a country that is very proud of our multicultural community. We want to assure those who live here, and those who may in the future, that New Zealand is united in condemning this act of terrorism," says Iain Lees-Galloway.

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