Seymour turns up late, can't block fast-track of gun bill

Author
Jason Walls and Derek Cheng, NZ Herald ,
Section
Politics,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 2 April 2019, 2:42PM
David Seymour was too busy talking to media when the vote happened. (Photo / Getty)
David Seymour was too busy talking to media when the vote happened. (Photo / Getty)

Act leader David Seymour was so busy objecting to media about the speed of the Government's gun law reform that he missed being in the House to vote down the expedited process.

The Government was planning on seeking leave to streamline the bill's passage through Parliament, including having the first reading this afternoon.

Seymour had planned to block any such attempt, which would have forced the Government to use urgency, but Seymour was not in the House when a motion for an expedited process was moved.

He was outside the House at the time, telling media that the Government was too concerned with "being seen to do the right thing on the global stage".

"What this Government is proposing to do is suspend, in all sincerity, public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny of its law-making so it can rush through a law in nine days.

"I suspect this law-making is being done as much for CNN as for the safety of the New Zealand public."

A spokesman for Seymour said he had "made his point" despite missing the vote.

Seymour still intended to be the only MP to oppose the Government's bill to ban military-style semi-automatic guns at the first reading.

"The gun laws need to change, but there are much better ways than this," he said.

The Government introduced the legislation yesterday and the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill will have its first reading today.

National will vote with the Government to pass the legislation through its first reading.

Seymour said interim measures had already made selling military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles to people with A category gun licences illegal.

He said that "good intentions and abrupt action do not guarantee good and lasting outcomes".

"There is a very real danger that we will make a bad law in the process."

His comments come after the Police this morning released its Interim Supplementary Analysis on the legislation.

Although giving more clarity around the proposed law, the analysis was "constrained by the tight timeframes" given the bill was being rushed through the House under urgency.

It said the final details of the bill were being work on right up until it was due to go before the Cabinet yesterday.

"Without these, it is difficult to identify with accuracy the impacts and risks of the proposal.

"This equally applies to details in the buyback scheme which is unlikely to be fully resolved until after the bill is introduced to Parliament."

Because of these factors, the Police's analysis was only general – "but has been included to signal the clear intent of the Government to compensate people who surrender prohibited firearms during the amnesty period".

Police said there was a risk of a black market for firearms being created because of the new law.

"The most likely source of a black market in prohibited firearms in New Zealand would be from the unknown quantity of semi-automatic centrefire and certain shotguns that are held on a standard firearms license, or already held illegally that are not surrendered to Police.

"This particularly applies to guns that have been sold privately."

But Police said despite this, the bill is expected to create an overall safer environment for New Zealand.

As well as banning military-style semi-automatics, the Government also plans a buyback of guns as well.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand this morning, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said that cost of such a policy could be as high as $300 million.

Speaking to media this morning, Police Minister Stuart Nash said although the Government had given the $100m-$200m estimate for the buyback scheme, it could be higher still given it was unknown how many would-be banned guns are out there.

 

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