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The man accused of killing 51 people in the Christchurch mosques attack has been charged with terrorism, New Zealand police have said.

It is the first time a person has been charged in New Zealand with an act of terror under this law.

He is already facing charges of murder and 40 of attempted murder following the attack on two mosques in the South Island city on 15 March.

The Australian is next due in court in June.

-Daniel Potter