NZ Deputy PM demands Australia take Christchurch terrorist back

New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has demanded Australia take back the Christchurch mosque gunman and that he serve out his life sentence on home soil.

Brenton Tarrant, 29, was sentenced at the High Court in Christchurch on Thursday to life without the possibility of parole on 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and a charge of committing a terrorist act.

NZ Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is asking Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to take Christchurch terrorist Brenton Tarrant back.Credit:Getty Images

On March 15, 2019, Tarrant carried out mass shootings at the Masjid An-Nur (Al Noor) and Linwood mosques after spending months planning the attack.

It was the first time anyone has ever been sentenced to life without parole in New Zealand. Tarrant is an Australian citizen from Grafton in New South Wales who moved to New Zealand about two years before the attack.

Peters, who is also the country's Foreign Minister and the leader of New Zealand First Party, which governs in coalition with Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party as, welcomed Tarrant's maximum possible sentence.

"The judgement is the only one that matched the depravity of the terrorist’s crimes against the Islamic community, and its devastating effect on all people living in this country," he said.

Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant sits in the dock at the Christchurch High Court for sentencing on Monday.Credit:AP

"New Zealand First also believes this terrorist should be returned to the country that raised him."

"Now is the time for Australia’s Minister of Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, to receive and carry out the terrorist’s sentence in Australia."

"The Islamic community and all of New Zealand has already suffered enough without having to pay astronomical prison costs to keep him safe in our prison system."

It has been estimated that keeping Tarrant in a New Zealand jail for the rest of his life would cost millions of dollars.

Ahead of the sentencing, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne was asked if Australia would take Tarrant back — given that the families of victims of the attack had called for this — even though there is no prisoner transfer arrangement between the countries.

"I'm not going to speculate on that. I think the sentencing today will bring at least this part of what was a horrific experience for so many families who lost so much to a conclusion. Many people, and I'm included in that, will be pleased to see that happen," she told the ABC.

"Matters after that may or may not be raised between governments but most importantly, to the extent that any closure can be achieved after an experience such as this, one hopes that the sentencing brings some families some small amount of peace."

In handing down Tarrant's sentence, Justice Cameron Mander said there was no minimum period of imprisonment to sufficiently denounce this crime.

"Your crimes are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it would not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation."

The killings were “brutal and beyond callous".

"Your actions were inhumane … You showed no mercy. You are not only a murderer, but a terrorist. You sought to essentially attack New Zealand’s way of life."

Ahead of the sentencing, 91 victims and their family members addressed the court about the impact of the brutal massacre perpetrated by Tarrant.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said all Australians were "horrified and devastated" by Tarrant's "despicable act".

In a long Facebook post Morrison also said "Justice today was delivered to the terrorist and murderer for his cowardly and horrific crimes in Christchurch. It is right that we will never see or hear from him ever again.

"New Zealand is family to us. Today we send our love across 'the ditch'."

Ardern has been critical in the past of Australia deporting New Zealanders who have been convicted of a crime, once they have served their sentence, and called for the policy to be re-thought.

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