Helen Clark reveals why she didn't change gun laws as Prime Minister

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark says she couldn't change gun laws as Prime Minister because the numbers weren't there to support it.  

Clark spoke to Magic Talk on Thursday about gun laws, and why they need to change.

"I think we're learning from this tragic outcome, we just have to have stronger gun laws," she said.

"Out of this terrible tragedy, will come, I hope a widespread parliamentary agreement."

On Thursday afternoon current Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the ban of all semi-automatics, automatic or near automatic assault rifles. 

Ardern also banned all high capacity magazines, and anything that can modify a firearm to have a semi-automatic capacity.

When asked why she did not enact this change during her time as PM, Clark said she didn't recall it being prioritised.

"With these coalition governments and confidence and supply agreements, sometimes you just don't have the numbers," she said

"I don't remember [gun control] being on the radar at all," she said. 

"In '97 I was leader of the opposition, and I remember it being argued about in Parliament. I was Prime Minister for nine years, and it never came to the top of the pile. 

"It's a pity that it wasn't top of the priority list." 

Clark also said gun lobbyists had too much power in New Zealand, but that it certainly could be worse.

"You see how rabid that lobby is, and I saw a report this morning saying they're going to offer their support to their brethren in New Zealand. Well, that's the last kind of support we need down here," she said. 

"Week after week in the US we see these tragic shootings, often large numbers of people and their congress is incapable of dealing with it. 

"I doubt their current president would allow it anyway due to the support he gets from the National Rifle Association."

Clark said she regrets the push for changes to regulations weren't at the top of the priorirty list, but says "unfortunately someone has to put them there" and then there has to be the votes for it.