Labour calls for independent gun inquiry

Labour is calling for an independent inquiry into the availability, use and control of guns in New Zealand following the Kawerau Police shootings and the huge haul of firearms and drugs this week.

Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash says the number of guns confiscated by Police over the past four years has risen by 50 per cent.

“In the 2011/12 year there were 1,010 guns confiscated. That rose to 1,504 in the 2014/15 year. We need to know what is driving this behaviour.

“Meanwhile 61 per cent of officers in a recent Police Association survey said they were dissatisfied with the amount of firearms training they are receiving, while 32 per cent are worried with the quality of training.

“Police Commissioner Mike Bush recently told the Law and Order Select Committee that he is concerned about the behaviour of people unlawfully possessing firearms. In fact he went as far as to say: ‘We can’t keep our communities safe if we can’t keep our own people safe’.

“Labour is happy to work with Police Minister Judith Collins to set terms of reference for such an inquiry and work on a bipartisan basis on any recommendations that may follow.

“The number one priority must be to ensure the safety of our hard working front line officers and our communities. But this mustn’t be about arming the Police, but rather disarming the criminals,” Stuart Nash says.