Police Minister Stuart Nash has praised Police and gun owners after the first firearms collection event saw a busy turnout at Riccarton Racecourse in Christchurch.
“Police officers and staff have put a tremendous effort into planning and logistics for the first event in the six month amnesty. More than 250 others are scheduled,” Stuart Nash says.
“Payments worth more than $430,000 have been processed today and should be in people’s bank accounts within the next few days.
“New Zealand has never run a gun buyback and amnesty before. Months of work has been invested and it has paid off.
“Many of those who handed over firearms commented how easy the process is, how the prices are fair, and how Police made the whole event go smoothly. Police say the feedback has been very positive.
“I also want to thank the people of Canterbury who turned up today. Police are working alongside firearms owners to help them do the right thing.
“We have consistently acknowledged the vast majority of firearms owners are law-abiding. They have done nothing wrong. The law changed and now they hold prohibited weapons. This was never aimed at them. It was designed to ensure the events of 15 March in Christchurch do not happen again.
“The results from the first collection are very encouraging. The early figures indicate people were coming through the door faster than one every two minutes. A prohibited firearm or part was handed in at a rate of more than one a minute. Payments were processed at a rate of more than $1400 per minute.
“The government has put aside more than $200 million for payments and administration of the gun buyback and amnesty. We will top up that figure if required.
“Another collection event will be held at Riccarton Racecourse tomorrow and I encourage owners of prohibited weapons, or others who just want to dispose of items during the amnesty, to prepare in advance and go along,” Mr Nash says.