Addressing the media, she confirmed that 49 people were killed. And said the nation is unified in grieving together.
“While the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers. As is the entire nation. We are all unified in grieving together.
And she added that when asked by US President Donald Trump what he could do following the attack, that she responded he could offer “sympathy and love” for all Muslim communities. Ardern confirmed that Trump had acknowledged the comment “and agreed”.
“I spoke with Donald Trump this morning, he thought to call us directly. He very much wished for his condolences to be passed on to New Zealand,” she said.
“He asked what offer of support the United States could provide, my message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.”
Her comments followed tweets from Trump confirming that he had spoken to the New Zealand leader and had informed her that, “we stand in solidarity with New Zealand.”
Ardern said the key suspect in the attack had been able to obtain a gun licence to hold high-powered weapons, including semi-automatic rifles. And that will see people wanting immediate changes to gun laws, which she supports.
She declared that “gun laws will change”.
She also said the 28-year-old Australian suspect who will appear in court today charged with murder, was not on an Australian or New Zealand watchlist.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Pres. Trump asked her what support the U.S. could provide in wake of deadly mosque attacks.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 15, 2019
On Friday afternoon, Ardern issued a rallying cry for solidarity.
“They are us,” she said of those killed and affected during the attack.
“It is clear that this is one of New Zealand’s darkest days. Clearly, what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” she added, as parts of the city were still in lockdown.
“Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us.
“The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand. There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence, which it is clear this act was.
“For now, my thoughts, and I’m sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders, are with those who have been affected, and also with their families.”