Guns handed over by the public at the police gun buyback event in Christchurch. PHOTO/ AMBER ALLOTT-NZME

Farmers looking for efficient process

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

Owners of newly-prohibited semi-automatic firearms will be able to hand their guns in at a series of Wairarapa buyback events in August and September.

The first of the Wairarapa collection events will be held on August 3-4, 10am-3pm, at Featherston’s Anzac Hall on Bell St.

Two collection events will be held at the Masterton Smallbore Rifle Club on Cole St on August 17-18 and September 7-8, also from 10am-3pm.

The rollout of buybacks comes after more than $1 million worth of weapons were handed in during the first weekend of the government’s gun buyback in Christchurch.

Federated Farmers is urging authorities to ensure the process runs smoothly.

A member survey showed that at least 20 per cent of Federated Farmers members had a firearm impacted by the new regulations.

Rural security spokesman Miles Anderson said these owners would be looking for good access, fair compensation, and a smooth process for the handover of firearms.

“We hope that it will recognise the needs of those who live in our more remote rural locations. The buyback is likely to be under way at the busiest time of year for farmers.

“With calving and lambing approaching, the last thing they need at that time of year is a lengthy trip to a major centre to dispose of a firearm.”

Farmers still need firearms suitable to undertake pest control.

“Many have indicated that they are waiting for compensation to purchase a replacement firearm that is within the new rules,’’ Anderson said.

“Farmers always look to have the most efficient tool for the job. They will be expecting fair compensation to purchase a replacement that is still suitable to control the pest animals on their farm.”

Federated Farmers said it was pleased to see there will be compensation up to a $300 limit for modifications to some firearms to bring them within the legal requirements.

“This will address the concerns of some of our members,” Anderson said.

There are estimated to be about 14,000 people licensed to hold semi-automatics in New Zealand, with the government allocating $208m for the buyback.

However, with no formal registry of individual weapons, Treasury has warned the exact figures will be hard to predict and opponents of the gun law changes have suggested the total cost could be significantly higher.

Before going to a collection event, people are asked to go to the police website and complete the online notification form to help speed up the process.

Police say gunowners should clear guns of all ammunition and place the firearms and parts in a safe carry bag, such as a firearms bag, or a “non-descript” cover.

Gun owners are asked to bring their firearms licences, photo identification, their bank account number, and a reference number for their online notification form to the collection points.

Owners of unique or rare prohibited guns are also asked to bring in a valuation.

Only people with a valid firearms licence are able to receive compensation for their guns.

However, those handing in gun parts and accessories included in the prohibited list don’t need a firearms licence to receive compensation.

For more information, visit www.police.govt.nz or call 0800 311 311.