A former Labour Cabinet minister whose electorate secretary was held up at gunpoint in a nine-hour siege says there should have been a gun register then and there should be one now.
Rick Barker, who at the time was an Opposition MP, said police had taken guns off Robert Reid in the lead-up to the day in December 1998 in which he held electorate secretary Jan Woodall up at gunpoint for nine hours at Barker's Hastings office.
Barker said police missed one of Reid's firearms in their sweep because Reid was registered, and not his guns.
Barker had been the intended target of Reid's actions but wasn't at his office when Reid arrived with his firearm.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today that a gun register may be considered in the next tranche of work on gun-control reform.
Barker told the Herald today that successive governments had over the years missed opportunities to tighten gun control, including the introduction of a gun register.
"I've always been a supporter of the person being on a register and their guns being registered.
"I've thought New Zealand made a terrible mistake when, for the sake of cost and because it was complicated, we got rid of the requirement to register firearms," Barker said.
New Zealand dropped its firearms registration requirement in 1983.
"I have no problem registering my car and my motorbike. Why would I have any argument in registering my firearm," Barker said.
He said that in the case of Reid, police recovered five firearms he had hidden, but not the sixth.
"That was the shotgun Mr Reid used to hold up my office.
"From that, I've always thought a register of firearms was really important, I don't care what it costs."
Barker was part of the Labour Opposition which voted in favour of Alliance MP Matt Robson's Member's Bill, the Firearms Authority Bill, at first reading in June 1999 which would have strengthened gun controls two years after the Thorp Report.
New Zealand First also supported the bill but it was voted down by National, Act and others.
Barker's speech to Parliament in support of the Bill proved to be prescient in light of recent events.
"I support the Bill. The second point I wish to make is that this debate underpins something more important - the rising level of anger in New Zealand society.
"Never in all my life have I seen the level of anger that is now apparent. If we do not address the causes of that anger we will not resolve the problem of violence in our society.
"One could point to a whole range of causes: certain types of videos, some of the films that can be seen in the cinemas, programmes on television, and behaviour in the school-grounds, on the football field, and in other sport," he told Parliament in 1999.