The Minister in charge of New Zealand's intelligence agencies, Andrew Little, says an inquiry into the events surrounding the Christchurch terror attack will show those agencies did their jobs.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday that an inquiry, which would look at the specific circumstances leading up to the Christchurch mosques terror attack, would be launched.

That inquiry would look at what all relevant agencies knew or could or should have known about the man who carried out the shooting – including his access to weapons, his travel and his use of social media.

Speaking to Q&A on Monday night, Little welcomed the news of the inquiry and said it would show the intelligence agencies did their jobs.

"… these agencies have done the correct things and done nothing other than fulfil their mandate in terms of security and intelligence."


He rejected any comments there was too much attention given to surveying potential Islamic extremism over other kinds of extremism.

"What I know is that over the past nine months, given the rise of right-wing extremism and white supremacism in other parts of the world, that has been a discrete focus of our agencies in reviewing their activity."

Little signs off all warrants the NZSIS issue and he said he was satisfied all forms of extremism were being looked at.

Ardern made similar comments yesterday, telling Radio New Zealand that over the past nine months, the NZSIS and GCSB have been doing more work in terms of monitoring far-right-wing extremism.

In a statement released last night, GCSB Director-General Andrew Hampton welcomed news of the inquiry.

"[The] GCSB is normally in a position where it can neither confirm nor deny any operational details, but given the nature of the situation I can confirm GCSB had not collected or received from partners any relevant intelligence ahead of the terrorist attacks."

"It is important that there will be the inquiry and GCSB is committed to providing all necessary support. It is of the utmost importance that the public are assured that GCSB acted lawfully and appropriately."

Speaking to Radio New Zealand on Tuesday morning, Little said the inquiry could help identify any "organisational blind spots" of the intelligence agencies and other relevant Government departments.


Asked about the Christchurch shooter's social media activity before the attacks and why that wasn't picked up on, Little said that's one thing the inquiry would look into.

"The advice I've had is to the extent that he made comments online, they were in closed Facebook groups that, unless you know they're there, they're not really accessible."