Why did ACC provide gun buyback funding?

Wed, 26 Jun, 2019

“ACC’s financial contribution to the gun buyback relies on dubious evidence and breaches the law by failing to use taxpayer money in a cost-effective way”, ACT Leader David Seymour says.

“The Accident Compensation Act requires that ACC only fund ‘measures to reduce the incidence and severity of personal injury’ if it is ‘satisfied that such measures are likely to result in a cost-effective reduction in actual or projected levy rates.’

“This means $1 of spending on injury prevention measures must achieve at least a $1 reduction in the costs associated with injuries.

“The gun buyback fails to achieve this. The Government currently estimates the buyback will cost $200 million. ACC estimates savings of $70.5 million over 20 years as a result of fewer claims for firearm injuries.

“ACC has falsely claimed that by investing $40 million it will achieve a $70.5 million return. The Government’s firearms ban and buyback scheme would have achieved these savings without ACC’s contribution. ACC has simply reduced the cost of the Government’s existing firearms buyback scheme. Besides, ACC Board Chair Paula Rebstock offered to provide funding in April, even before the details of the gun buyback scheme were known.

“ACC’s decision also relies on dubious evidence from Australia. It says there is ‘strong evidence from Australia in the benefits of a gun buyback scheme.’ But three literature reviews found no study was able to establish that Australia’s legislative changes had a significant impact on the firearm homicide rate.

“This was a feel-good offer, rather than hard-headed investment decision. ACC’s move will reduce the welfare of New Zealanders because $40 million is now unavailable for measures that would reduce injuries more effectively.

“Ultimately, the gun buyback scheme is about property rights. Rataher than trying to hide behind a deficient cost-benefit analysis, the Government needs to get on with compensating gun owners fairly for property it is about to confiscate.”