Police bear cost of rushed legislation

Tue, 09 Jul, 2019

"ACT's opposition to April's rushed firearm ban is vindicated every day as the fallout of this folly continues and, sadly, our Police are bearing the brunt of it," according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

"Days before the buyback is scheduled to begin with what Police Minister Stuart Nash calls 'large public events,' small errors are embarrassing our Police. Two such stories have emerged on the same day.

"In the wake of a man burgling 11 firearms by walking through an open door into the Palmerston North Police Station, Stuff has reported that two of the firearms were not stolen, having been returned to the rightful owners a week earlier. The error was due to lost paperwork, reflecting that the Police have not been provided with adequate tools for an exercise such as a gun buyback.

"Meanwhile, in Auckland, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that Police lost a man's firearms after he surrendered them in relation to a protection order. Even after an investigation by the IPCA, it is not possible to find where they got to.

"Some will blame Police competence for these past events, but Police did not choose to be responsible for a mass surrender of potentially hundreds of thousands of firearms from this Thursday. That is the fault of Parliament, or at least all of Parliament except ACT that stood alone against rushed legislation.

"Licensed firearm owners are required by law to store their firearms safely. Now, tens of thousands of them will be forced to surrender their property to an organisation that has a habit of losing firearms and cannot find them even with the Independent Police Conduct Authority standing over them. 

"ACT predicts that thousands of people attempting to hand in their firearms at once will lead to more embarrassing incidents.

"The 'large public events' will make great TV, befitting of a Government run like a PR firm, but they are poor policy. It is a shame that our Police, who have not been equipped for such a task, are likely to suffer as collateral damage from the Government making policy for CNN instead of New Zealanders."