Canberra is open to the possibility of New Zealand sending the Australian-born gunman back home to complete his life sentence behind the Christchurch mosque shooting, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday. White supremacist Brenton Tarrant on Thursday was sentenced to life without parole for last year’s attacks on two mosques which killed 51 Muslim worshippers. New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said Tarrant, 29, would be moved to the Australian prison system shortly after the sentence was handed down.
Australia’s Morrison said he had not received any proposal to move Tarrant but was prepared to speak to his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern about the possibility. “Whether he is held in Australia or New Zealand, look we’re open to that discussion,” he told Seven News television. “That obviously has a lot of implications, these sorts of decisions. The prime minister of New Zealand and I will talk about those issues.”
In it, Tarrant praised the British nationalist Oswald Mosley and cautioned that “the horizon is full of tension.” The Department of Corrections apologised and vowed that it would not happen again. But on Thursday, Judge Cameron Mander dismissed the move as “uncorroborated, self-serving and a fairly recent trend,” an unprecedented punishment in New Zealand, before imposing life without parole. Tarrant is likely to be held in solitary confinement for his own safety at Auckland’s only maximum-security prison in New Zealand, where 80 percent of the prisoners are Maori or Pacific.