Treasury Release Raises Interesting Questions About ACC Role in Gun Buy Back

Thu, 17 Oct, 2019

"Advice, given to the Minister of Finance on March 20, proactively released by Treasury today, raises an interesting question about ACC's role in the Government's gun buyback policy," according to ACT Leader David Seymour

"Exactly three months later on June 20, ACC said 'We're contributing up to $40 million to the Government’s firearms buy-back scheme because we're confident it will have a direct impact on the number and severity of gun injuries in New Zealand," however, Treasury cited a 'Lack of evidence that gun buy-back will avoid future gun-related death and injury, so [not compensating owners] may achieve some of the benefits without associated costs.'

"It appears that the ACC's decision to 'invest,' as they describe it, in the gun buyback may was contradicted by the Treasury, who believed the investment was of little value.

"Perhaps most interesting is that the ACC appears to have had its independence compromised. ACC announced in June it had made a decision to invest to reduce its own liabilities. However, the Treasury suggests there is a 'pro' for the Minister of Finance ('will not impact OBEGAL or net debt,' and a 'con' for the ACC, namely 'potential issues for the ACC Board regarding legal duty of care.'"

"Everything in the Treasury advice suggests that contributing funds to the gun buyback was bad for ACC, but helped the Minister of Finance by making his books look better.

"The Treasury noted that using taxpayer money would '[maintain] transparency, fiscal management principles,' but it would also 'impact OBEGAL and net debt.'

"Altogether, the Treasury advice told the Minister that the gun buyback would be poor quality spending but the books would look better if he leaned on ACC to fund it. We can only wonder if that's not exactly what happened.

ENDS