Mr. Coster said the officers had not followed the man into the supermarket because, under Covid restrictions, relatively few people were inside. That meant the officers would have been much more conspicuous and might have been compromised, he said. A member of the elite Special Tactics Group killed the man less than three minutes after the attack began, he said.
Ms. Ardern praised the police response. “This was a highly motivated individual who used a supermarket visit as a shield for an attack,” she said. “That is an incredibly tough set of circumstances.”
Countdown and three other New Zealand supermarket chains said after the attack that they would suspend the sale of sharp knives. Countdown said it would also temporarily stop selling scissors.
Ms. Ardern said her government intended to pass the counterterrorism amendments by the end of this month. Opposition lawmakers have said they would support the changes, even as they called for more information about why the attacker had not been deported.
Certain details about the man’s immigration status could not yet be released, Ms. Ardern said. She also said his name could not be disclosed until at least Saturday night, to give his family time to challenge the court’s decision to lift its suppression order.
Ms. Ardern said she would not use the man’s name in public, a rule she has applied to the Christchurch gunman. “No terrorist, whether alive or deceased, deserves their name to be shared for the infamy they were seeking,” she said.