Illegal Firearms Have Police Stretched Especially In Northland

31 July 2017

NZ First says a lack of police resources is emerging from the tragic shootings in Northland.

“Our sympathies are naturally with the victims’ families and especially those of Wendy Campbell and her daughter Natanya,” says New Zealand First Deputy Leader and Spokesperson for Police, Ron Mark.

“This is why seriously hard questions need to be asked of police resourcing. 

“In Northland, Wellsford and Mangawhai, between 2008 until mid-2016, there were 573 reported firearms offences for just 160 arrests.  It is unlikely that this gunman was among the 413 reported firearms offences where no arrest was made.

“It is the tip of an iceberg given Northlanders have reported firearms incidents to police with seemingly no obvious action being taken.  As it includes suspected gang properties, this is an issue that cannot and should not be brushed under the carpet.

“Another concern is how fast certain politicians and some media have used this tragedy to push their agenda.

“Given this gunman’s past he would never have qualified for a firearms license. Yet despite this, he reportedly told police who went to his property to investigate reports of gunfire, that he was using a structure he’d built ‘for target practice.’

“That it was accepted without further inquiry will concern many people, along with the NZ Herald reporting, that this gunman sold gun parts on Trade Me.  As there are too few police in Northland, conscientious frontline officers lack the time and resources to follow-up.

“When we say ‘too few,’ we have police rosters for one calendar month showing that an average of 54 police were on duty for all of Northland.  That ranged from a high of 200 officers ‘mid-afternoon’ to just three officers in the small hours, when much crime happens.

“And if other reports of hand-grenades being in this gunman’s possession are true, then the focus ought to be on over 200,000 sea containers entering New Zealand each year without even a biosecurity inspection, let alone one from Customs.

“Then there was the accidental $500m P-bust, also in Northland, which showed how easily aircraft and vessels can deliver narcotics to our shores virtually undetected. 

“Illegal weapons will likely follow the similar pathway as drugs do.  This demands that a government take not only police seriously but defence because our coastline is longer than that of the continental United States,” says Mr Mark.