The high-level inquiry was due to submit its final report at the end of this month, but the nationwide lockdown had prevented staff from accessing parts of the draft report from home.
It has been investigating what could and should have been done to prevent the 15 March terrorist attack, what could be done to prevent similar attacks in future, as well as investigating the terrorist and his activities before the attack.
The government has now extended its deadline to 31 July, because of the delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Commission requested a delay a week ago, because staff working on the final report could not access some draft sections stored on a secure and classified network.
Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin confirmed the delay in a written release today.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to the Royal Commission’s work. With people working from home during the alert level 4 lockdown, the Royal Commission and agencies cannot access secure physical environments to review sensitive information. Agencies and individuals are also unable to respond within the planned timeframes,” she said.
The Commission originally planned to report its findings in December last year, but that was delayed to the 30th of this month after requests from the Commission itself, the Muslim group set up to assist it and the Federation of Islamic Associations.
They described the original timeframe as “unrealistic” and said it severely undermined the “complexity and gravitas” of the investigation.
Cabinet papers show ministers considered doubling the inquiry’s funding and pushing its final reporting date out to 2 November 2020, but later settled on an April 30 deadline instead.