Mike Hosking: Gun buyback a failure, but it won't change votes

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Nov 2019, 3:39PM
A lot of people are angry, but will it help or harm any parties? (Photo / File)

Mike Hosking: Gun buyback a failure, but it won't change votes

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Nov 2019, 3:39PM

One of the more interesting things about the government's gun buy-back is whether talk will turn to reality.

There is allegedly much upset from the gun community, whatever that is. Or is it a community just because you own a gun? Or are gun owners so wide and varied they're just ordinary every day New Zealanders you wouldn't look twice at, they just happen to own a gun? Like library cards, is that a community?

Anyway, the gun community is angry at NZ First for the support they have given for the buy-back. The inference being, NZ First is strong in the rural parts of this country, and a gun buy-back is a direct attack on that sector. Same sort of thing came out of the Nats supporting the government's zero carbon bill.

The claim, and I have received much correspondence on it, is that all the angry farmers who hate the zero carbon bill and the trouble it brings to their business will be now voting Act. They were the only ones who didn’t vote for it.

Here's my guess, none of it will change anything. Act's vote won't go up. New Zealand First's vote won't go down. And if it does, it will be foundations and donations, not guns that sink them. The same way Labour's vote for Damien O'Connor might be affected a bit, given their actions on the coast. But for all the anger you saw last weekend with the protest, the reality is Damien O'Connor has a 6000 vote majority.

What you say during the term of a government is not what you do when you vote.

And so to the gun buy-back. A month this week to go, and the numbers are unquestionably, indisputably low. 33,620 guns bought back according to the police website. They’ve handed over $70m to buy them back. The gun lobby said it would be hundreds of millions.

The reason it isn't, of course, is that most of the guns they want haven't been handed in. Most of the people who have the guns they want, aren't the 'hand them in or co-operate with the police' kind.

As an exercise in ridding the country of the weaponry used in Christchurch, thus leading to the chances of another similar attack ever happening again, this programme has been an abject failure.

It was badly conceived, it was a rushed reaction to a tragedy, it was an example of decision-making designed not to solve anything other than make the government look like they were actually doing something.

It gets neither all the guns nor anywhere close. Nor does it make us any safer from crazies. Most of the guns bought are already being replaced by guns that still shoot a lot of bullets, certainly enough bullets to cause mayhem.

When you are dealing with one person, with one aim; a broad-based political solution targeting innocent, law-abiding people solves nothing. All it does it cause resentment.

But, and here is where the rubber hits the road, has it or does it shift votes? Has it damaged the government, either Labour or New Zealand First? A lot of stuff happens between votes that gets a lot of noise around it and with a month to go this has been a good example. But let's see in 10 months what the tangible effect is. My bet, is next to none.      

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