The Government risks its buyback scheme becoming a failure if it doesn’t take swift action to engage with responsible firearms owners and the firearms community, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.
“With fewer than 100 firearms handed in at every buyback event, the Minister should heed expert advice and make changes to his scheme if he wants to ensure the safety of New Zealanders.
“The Government should review its price list for firearms, it needs to include accessories, ammunition and safes that are redundant now the law has changed, and most importantly, it needs to work with the firearms community.
“Police Minister Stuart Nash has failed to engage with the firearms community and they’re responding by not engaging with the buyback. By the Government’s own estimates, there are still 140,000 or more firearms yet to be handed in.
“The Government is compromising public safety by failing to make its gun buyback scheme fair and reasonable. It disregarded expert advice from KMPG that showed the cost of the scheme could be up to $750 million for it to be effective.
“Instead, Mr Nash has focused on budget bottom lines rather than work with the firearms community to make New Zealand safer. He’s refusing to own up to his mistakes and admit he got the buyback wrong.
“Gangs are not complying and we’re seeing no action from the Government tackle illegal firearm use. The focus has always been on the law abiding firearms community. If Mr Nash was as tough on gangs and real criminals as he is trying to be on licensed firearms owners, maybe we would see some improvements to public safety.
“The Minister needs to own that he got this scheme wrong. If the Government wants to do justice to its buyback, it needs to review its price lists. Anything less is undermining the point of the buyback and failing to make New Zealand safer.”