Gun buyback: More spent on admin, than guns

By Will Trafford

National has called the government’s second firearms buyback scheme "nothing more than a marketing exercise" after revelations more was spent on administering the scheme, than actually buying guns.

Police figures show of the $15.5 million allocated to the scheme, just $6.2 million was actually spent.  Some $2.4 million was spent buying guns, while $3.8 million was spent on administration.

National’s Police spokesperson, Simeon Brown, said the programme was flawed.

“Rather than focusing on law-abiding New Zealanders, the government needs to deliver on its promise of introducing firearm prohibition order legislation to take guns away from gangs.

“The government promised on May 11 this year that it would be introducing this legislation to the house but so far all we have had is an announcement, with no delivery," Brown said.

The buyback programme was launched following the Christchurch mosque massacres. Police expected to collect between 2200 and 2800 firearms.

'Waste of money'

The final numbers reveal just 1078 guns were taken out of circulation.

ACT’s firearms spokesperson, Nicole McKee (Ngāpuhi), told Te Ao Māori News the programme was “a waste of taxpayer money.”

“Millions of dollars have been diverted into an area that has made no significant difference to community safety.”

“ACT believes that money would have been better spent ensuring our front line officers are supported, have the tools required to combat organised and petty crime and, even better, if it was spent on Police recruitment to allow better community support,” she said.

Police Minister Poto Williams defended the programme to RNZ.

"The absolute priority was acting when this group of firearms came to our attention - for the safety of our communities. And we did.

"These types of firearms can no longer be used to cause harm in our communities. That, to me, is the ultimate measure of success."