"There were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in, and it absolutely was his intention to continue with this attack", she told a news conference.
The head of the New Zealand Police Association, Chris Cahill, welcomed Ardern's comments and said previous attempts to introduce gun controls had failed partly because of diehard opponents to reform.
He said up to 70 people were praying inside Linwood when gunshots were heard.
A 28-year-old Australian man charged with murder appeared in the Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning following Friday's terror attacks on two mosques in the city.
NZ Police Commissioner Mike Bush revealed on Sunday the body of the 50th victim had been found in the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue on Saturday night. "Just helping people is his main thing. If victims need medical transfers, ACC is willing and able to pay for family to accompany that person", Pickering said.
Two other people were in custody and police said they were working to understand their involvement. That makes New Zealand's per capita rate of gun ownership higher than Australia's, but still far below the U.S., where there is more than one gun per person.
Ms Ardern confirmed her office was one of about 30 that had been sent the manifesto nine minutes before last Friday's massacre, but it did not contain details of where the attacks would take place.
At Hagley College, a school across a park from the Al Noor mosque where more than 40 people were killed, a makeshift support center was set up on Sunday.
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The majority of victims were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia and Afghanistan.
Ardern added that the mail was transferred to the security services within two minutes after it was received.
His relatives in the Australian town of Grafton, in New South Wales, contacted police after learning of the shooting and were helping with the investigation, local authorities said. Her father Waseem, 33, is said to be in a stable condition.
Facebook, Twitter and Google scrambled to take down the gunman's video, which was widely available on social media for hours after the bloodbath.
"The friendships he made at that time led him to apply for a role in Air New Zealand and make the move to Christchurch".
As prime minister Jacinda Ardern considers banning semi-automatic rifles following Friday's massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers, some gun users are busy stockpiling, fearing their favourite toys will soon be out of reach. "There were two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns. Our gun laws will change".
There are an estimated 1.5 million firearms in New Zealand, which has a population of only 5 million, but it has had low levels of gun violence.