ACT Leader David Seymour says the National Party’s recognition that the gun ‘buy-back’ is failing is only three months late.
“They say that if you want to be in the political circus you must be able to ride two horses at once, but National criticising the gun ‘buy-back’ they voted for three months ago is a three-ringed circus in itself,” says Mr Seymour.
“ACT stood alone in opposition to the undemocratic Arms Amendment Act passed in April this year. We said that rushed legislation was bad legislation, and Kiwibuild-like implementation of the gun ‘buy-back’ is daily vindication of ACT’s position.
“The news that new firearm components are being added to the price list halfway through reflects the impossible task that every other party in Parliament set for Police when it passed firearms legislation in only nine days.
“Of course modern firearms are modular, and that makes it difficult to know exactly what is being banned. This is something I pointed out to the sawn-off select committee at the time. Now, new parts of firearms are being added to the ‘buy-back’ price list at half time. This was entirely predictable.
“The problem with moving the target halfway through the ‘buy-back’ is that it makes a mockery of the time scale. If the Government can announce new parts are banned with three months to go, why did the initial process need to be six months? On the other hand, if six months is the right length of time for a ‘buy-back’, then the six month period should start from when the last parts were added to the process.
“Given the paltry number of firearms handed in so far, there is a good case for the ‘buy-back’ to be extended. The fact that only 17,000 of an estimated 240,000 firearms have been handed in means the required run rate is climbing every week.
“Even the number of firearms handed in obscures the weak performance of the ‘buy-back’. The Minister of Police admitted in Parliament last week that some of the firearms handed were not those banned. We do not know the actual number of firearms handed in that were those the Government is actually trying to recover.
“The amount of money given out suggests that the average firearm has been bought back at $1300. Given the high-powered firearms the Government is trying to recover are priced at twice that or more, it is likely the Police are mostly collecting lower value firearms from well down the price list.
“One way or another, National are proving the second best time to oppose rushed firearm legislation is now. The best time would have been standing with ACT in April.”