“Winston Peters has today refused to accept that he betrayed or scapegoated licensed firearm owners by supporting the Government’s gun law changes and ‘buy-back’ scheme”, ACT Leader David Seymour says.
“When asked whether the gun ‘buy-back’ was failing and compliance rates were low because LFOs felt betrayed and scapegoated by the Government, Peters refused to even answer the question.
“After claiming to be a champion for firearm owners for many years, Peters was forced to defend the Government’s firearm law changes and ‘buy-back’ in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is failing.
“In response to ACT's questions in the House, the Acting Prime Minister condemned previous Parliaments for ignoring firearms law reform and boasted that neglect would end with the current Government.
“But the Government's swagger on firearms reform is looking more foolhardy by the day.
“More than halfway though the six-month ‘buy-back’ and amnesty period, less than 10 per cent of the approximately 240,000 prohibited firearms in New Zealand have been handed in.
“By rushing complex legislation through Parliament in just nine days, compiling a price list in five hours, scapegoating law-abiding gun owners, and offering inadequate compensation, the Government has ensured that many will refuse to comply with its ‘buy-back’.
“Police have now collected 21,854 guns at about 200 events, a collection rate of 109 guns per event. There are potentially 218,146 banned firearms still in circulation and only 50 notified events remaining. Even if another 150 events are added, Police would need to increase their collection rate by a factor of almost ten to 1,090 guns per event.
“It is becoming clearer by the day that the ‘buy-back’ has been a failure, just as ACT predicted it would be. Police must extend the timeframe beyond 20 December.
“Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement admitted eleven days ago it would take ‘years’ to recover all banned firearms.
“In the face of overwhelming evidence, Mr Peters and the Government need to admit they've failed and take a different approach.”