INDEPENDENT NEWS

A-G Report Says No Evidence To Back Up Safety Claims

Published: Thu 7 May 2020 06:09 PM
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners is labelling the firearms confiscation scheme an abject failure. Today’s report from the Auditor-General found Police had recalled as little as a quarter of eligible firearms while almost doubling their administration costs from $18 to $35 million.
Months after the Government began its firearms confiscation and compensation scheme, New Zealanders are still none the wiser as to the level of compliance or whether public safety has been enhanced.
Today’s report cannot confirm claims that the scheme would enhance public safety. The wild variation in estimates of the number of affected firearms means no-one will ever know how effective the scheme may have been at making Kiwis safer.
The report notes that the 61,332 firearms handed into Police is at the lower end of the estimated 55,000 to 240,000 required to be surrendered.
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee says:
“The Government has consistently said that the confiscation of legally possessed firearms from lawful owners was about enhancing public safety. Today we hear from the Auditor-General that there is no evidence to back those claims up.”
McKee says that COLFO is not surprised that the cost of administering the scheme had ballooned from $18 million to $35 million to date and may end up being more.
“When it comes to firearms, administration estimates from authorities are almost always underestimated. We saw that when Canada attempted to establish a firearms register. What was supposed to cost a few million dollars eventually ended up costing close to $2 billion before it was scrapped.
“News of this latest overspend by Police is particularly concerning as the funding shortfall was made up from the General Crime Prevention Services appropriation, meaning important crime prevention projects may have gone without the resourcing they needed.”
The report finds that Police have struggled to maintain records of restricted firearms, losing track of 817 E-category firearms.
“How can Kiwis trust that any future registration scheme can be afforded by taxpayers when those administering the current regime cannot adequately estimate the costs of keep accurate records of current registered firearms? This confirms our position that a register is a waste of taxpayer money.”

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