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Gun buyback scheme not worth the money spent


Today’s report from the Auditor-General on the Government’s gun buyback scheme is critical of the Government’s inability to ensure the scheme was worth the amount spent on it, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says.

“The Government has spent $103 million on a buyback scheme it knew it would be unable to substantiate whether it was successful in making New Zealand safer. However, given Police estimated there were 50,000 to 240,000 prohibited firearms in New Zealand, and only 57,716 firearms were handed in, it’s clear which way this went.

“Both Customs and the Police record lawfully imported firearms, but in different ways. Instead of undertaking the work to ensure these records were reconciled, Police put this in the too hard basket. If they had undertaken this work in parallel with the buyback process, we may have been able to determine whether the buyback had been a success.

“The Government knew it would never be able to establish the success of the buyback, showing this was merely a marketing exercise, rather than actually making our country safer.

“Meanwhile there were 156 incidents of firearms-related offences involving suspected gang members and associates between 1 January and 9 March this year. The Government should have picked up our Firearms Prohibitions Orders Bill which gives Police more powers to search and take firearms off gang members.

“National also recently proposed a specialised unit that would disrupt criminal gang activity every single day. This is where the Government’s priorities should have been, not loading even more regulations and costs onto law-abiding firearms owners.

“Rather than tackling the real problems of unlawful possession and use of firearms, the Government pressed ahead with the buyback scheme, and millions of dollars later, no one can show that it’s actually been successful.”

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