As Police Armed Response teams are scrapped, the Defence Minister is calling for an independent review into why frontline officers were armed with military grade-assault rifles in the first place.
Ron Mark said he holds "great concern" at the lack of firearms training officers receive and was aware police complaints about their own training had been dismissed at the highest levels.
"Even our military cadets that go through more rigorous training than frontline police officers," the NZ First MP said.
"It's time to reconsider the decision to put military grade assault rifles into the hands of frontline police in the streets of suburban New Zealand."
As thousands of New Zealanders marched in solidarity with anti-racism movements across the world, sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer, Mark said it was time to rethink arming police.
Added to the fact that the Government has confiscated all semi-automatic weapons in the buy back scheme, Mark said police were inappropriately armed against members of the public.
"We have always held concerns with the creeping militarisation of the police force given the Government already has multiple layers of armed response, across agencies.
"Frontline officers have the ability to be armed at the discretion of their immediate supervisors.
"They can also call on the Special Tactics Group and the Armed Offenders Squad. They also have the ability to call on Defence if necessary."
On Tuesday Police Commissioner Andrew Coster announced the Armed Response Teams will not continue, saying they "do not align with the style of policing that New Zealanders expect".
Coster based his decision on public feedback - which was largely negative - alongside findings from the trial and consultation with the community.
"Everything we do, we do to keep New Zealanders safe and feeling safe," he said in a statement.
Coster had previously said the trials would only be one factor in making the decision.
"It is clear to me that these response teams do not align with the style of policing that New Zealanders expect.
"We have listened carefully to that feedback and I have made the decision these teams will not be a part of our policing model in the future."
The trial, which ended in April, took place in Canterbury, Waikato and Counties Manukau - areas cited to have the highest rates of firearms incidents.
Before it even began, police were warned before and during their Armed Response Teams (ART) trial about the "severe" consequences of not having consulted with Māori.
Reports from early stages of the trial also show the armed officers were routinely attending low-level incidents including routine traffic stops, and police recording of data was "exceedingly poor".
Almost immediately after the trial was announced publicly on October 18, there were outcries about a lack of community consultation, particularly from Māori, who are nearly eight times more likely than Pākehā to be on the receiving end of police force.
Data showed that the controversial ARTs trial were attending callouts to children as young as 12 during the trial.
Armed officers dealt with six incidents involving a total of eight 12-year-olds - seven of whom were Māori. The other 12-year-old's ethnicity was reported "unknown".
Almost all of the incidents took place in Hamilton.
None of the 12-year-olds had firearms, but three of them were listed as having a weapon, only identified as cutting, stabbing or striking.
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