'One of New Zealand's darkest days', says PM Ardern

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New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given a speech following the fatal shootings in Christchurch, in which 40 people died.

The country's leader said the incident was “one of New Zealand’s darkest days” and that the victims "are us”, adding that “the person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”

Arden also called on residents of Christchurch to follow the advice of authorities who have put the city in lockdown.

Jacinda Ardern's speech in full:

“Whilst I cannot give any confirmation at this stage around fatalities and casualties, what I can say is that 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.

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.

My thoughts also to those in Christchurch, who are still dealing with an unfolding situation.

The advice from police continues to be that people remain indoors. I acknowledge that that may mean that some families are separated, but please continue to listen out for information as it comes to light that’s been directly provided by the New Zealand Police with further information. But as I say, please remain in lockdown. We are potentially still dealing with an evolving situation. And again, as I say, across multiple sites.

Please be assured, though, the police are actively managing the situation. Christchurch Hospital is dedicated to treating those who are arriving at the hospital as we speak as well.

As soon as I leave here, I will be returning directly on a flight to Wellington. Agencies are already convening in Wellington. I will be looking to meet with them as soon as I land.

It’s my expectation that once I arrive and have been briefed, I intend to speak again publicly after that point. I’m happy to take questions.”

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