Documents released today show the Government is compromising public safety in failing to make its gun buyback scheme fair and reasonable, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“Today the Government finally released the KPMG report that informed its firearms buyback scheme and it shows Ministers have disregarded advice to make the buyback as effective as possible.
“The Government was told the cost of the buyback could be up $750 million for the scheme to be effective. Instead it has chosen the lower cost option, despite warnings the firearms community was feeling pain and anger and this would impact compliance.
“This feeling is reflected in the numbers of guns handed back now. In a briefing to Ministers, the high-end estimate was that around 240,000 firearms could be captured, but we know this number could be higher. Despite that, the buyback has only brought in 6800 firearms to date at a price of $12 million.
“If the buyback events continue at the same pace, the Government may end up with fewer than 50,000 firearms handed in. Even though the total number of banned firearms could be 240,000 or higher.
“Instead of putting compliance and public safety first and choosing the worst case option, the Government has focused on its budget bottom lines rather than work with the firearms community to make New Zealand safer.
“The Government is also refusing to take action against gangs and is instead hitting law-abiding firearm owners. Criminal gang members have no respect for the law, so Police need expanded powers to be able to deal with them.
“National has a Member’s Bill that will ensure gang members cannot hold a firearms licence and will allow Police to carry out searches on gang members who have a history of serious crimes.
“The view of many in the firearms community is the prices they are receiving are not fair and reasonable. We’ve got to ensure the buyback scheme works, and a critical part of that is making sure licensed firearms holders have confidence in the scheme.”