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'We utterly reject and condemn you' - PM denounces those responsible for Christchurch terror attacks that left 40 dead

The Prime Minister says 40 people have been killed "in what can only been described as a terrorist attack", after two mass shootings in Christchurch mosques today. 

Jacinda Ardern said the values of New Zealand "will not and can not be shaken by this attack".

"The strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this: You may have chosen us, but we utterly condemn and reject you."

Ms Ardern told media from the Beehive in Wellington that with "extreme sadness, as at 7pm tonight we believe 40 people have lost their lives".

"Ten died at Linwood Ave Mosque, and 30 killed at Deans Avenue Mosque."

More than 48 people are in hospital and 20 of those are seriously injured.

She said the attacks appeared to be "well-planned", and two explosive devices were attach to suspect’s vehicles were found and disarmed.

New Zealand’s security threat level has been lifted from low to high, Ms Ardern confirmed.

Four people have been apprehended, three that may be connected to the attack are in custody. Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed on of those is an Australian citizen.

"These are people I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand, have no place in the world," Ms Ardern said. 

"While we do not have any reason to believe at this stage there are any other suspects, we are not assuming that at this stage. The joint intelligence group have been deployed and police are putting all their resources into this situation, the defence force are currently transporting additional police staff to the region."

"You may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you," the Prime Minister said.

Ms Ardern wanted to send a message directly to those impacted, "In fact I’m sure New Zealand would like me to share a message on their behalf too".

"Christchurch was the home of these victims. For many, this may not have been the place they were born, in fact for many New Zealand was their choice… the place they were raising families, where they were part of communities who they loved and loved them.

"We, New Zealand, we were not a target because we're a safe harbour for those who hate, we were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we're an enclave for extremists, we were chosen for the very fact we are none of these things."

She said the values of New Zealand "will not and can not be shaken by this attack".

"The strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this, you may have chosen us, but we utterly condemn and reject you."

Earlier, Jacinda Ardern described today's mass shooting in Christchurch as "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

Read: 1 NEWS' live updates as a mass shooting takes place at Christchurch mosques leaves multiple casualties.

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    On the evening of March 15 the Prime Minister also says at least 20 others were seriously injured. Source: 1 NEWS