Monday, 8 April 2019

Ministerial interference in gun reform select committee process

The Police Minister has interfered in the Arms Amendment Bill select committee process and prevented the Finance and Expenditure Committee from obtaining critical information, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The information I sought was this: What percentage of prohibited guns will be recovered, and how many will remain in circulation?

“If the Government can’t answer this question, how can it be confident that this law will make New Zealanders safer?

Evidence from Australia is that only 20 per cent of guns were recovered. Depending on the estimate, as many as 80 per cent and as few as 40 per cent of semi-automatic weapons were recovered in the Australian buyback.

“The most astonishing aspect, however, is that officials tasked with advising the Committee told us they could not answer the question because the Police Minister would not let them.

“The Select Committee process exists for Parliament, as the people’s representatives, to scrutinise what the Government is doing. If we are only allowed to have information the Government lets us have, we cannot do our job as a Parliament.

“The shortened select committee process for the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill has produced bad law and is offensive to democracy.

“The process has confirmed ACT’s concerns about this rushed legislation, and we remain opposed to it.”