Government's firearm buyback scheme gets bigger, more expensive, as new details revealed

The Firearms Amendment Bill has passed in Parliament, but the cost of the gun buyback just got a whole lot bigger.

The Government is pledging to pay for parts, magazines and ammunition, as well as the banned firearms they're used with. 

On Wednesday Police Minister Stuart Nash said even if it costs $1 billion, he'll do it. 

"We felt that we were making parts illegal that were integral to a prohibited firearm that it was probably the right thing to do," said Nash.

The original estimate for the cost of the buyback was $100 to $200 million; that didn't include paying for parts.

The Government isn't sure how much the inclusion of parts will cost, with Nash telling Newshub they're still "working through that at this point in time".

Gun City owner David Tipple told the select committee it would cost $250 million just to buy all the parts in New Zealand - that's not including the guns themselves.

When asked by Newshub if Tipple was correct in his estimation, Nash said he didn't know.

"We've always said this is a problem," he said.

"We just don't know how many of these firearms are out there, and if we don't know how many firearms there are, we don't know how many parts there are."

The Government has given itself an out clause so it doesn't have to pay people who've stockpiled parts or ammunition.

A change made by the Police Minister on Wednesday said the Government can limit the right to compensation in certain circumstances - for example, a maximum number of magazines.

Those who obtained their firearms illegally won't be getting any money, but they are covered by the amnesty so can still hand back their guns without fear of proseuction - no questions asked.

When asked about the issue this poses for getting firearms back from gang members, Nash said he didn't know.

"Maybe some of them have legally acquired the firearms," he suggested.

Some gang members have already publicly said they won't hand over their guns and ACT leader David Seymour thinks they should be included the buyback scheme.

Without an incentive, they won't hand them over.

"I would much rather the gangs had money than illegal firearms," he told Newshub.

"Last I saw gangs have never hurt anyone with money."

It's yet another thing to consider, as the buyback scheme widens.

Newshub.

 

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