Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has admitted it is going to take time to turn around growing levels of gun violence, saying the recent rise is down to Australian deportee gangsters.
Ardern has addressed the issue of gun violence in New Zealand two years after the country was rocked by a mass shooting that claimed 51 lives and saw the Government ban certain weapons and launch a buyback scheme.
Speaking to RNZ's Morning Report today on the anniversary of the mosque attacks, Ardern said the Government had introduced a raft of measures to curb gun violence - however the rise of 501 deportees with gang links were driving gun violence to new heights.
"We do have an increasing issue with gun use, particularly against organised criminals, and so for me that is more rationale for the kinds of legislation that we've already put in place," she said.
That included measures such as a national gun register, increased penalties as well as the banned-weapons buyback scheme.
"We are up against what has been a growth in particular new gangs that are coming in as a result of deportations out of Australia - that has almost had a tit-for-tat effect with our existing gangs in New Zealand with additional increase in recruitment there - so these are things that are going to take some time to turn around but we are working in earnest on."
It was hoped the suite of measures would go some way to eventually altering the availability of weapons among criminals and result in a reduction in gun crime.
It comes as one of the country's top cops has put rising gang tensions due to the influx of Australian 501 deportees for surging gun violence across Auckland.
In a briefing to Police Minister Poto Williams, Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers noted an increase in gang-related violence in the Counties Manukau police district, with violent clashes linked to tensions between members of the Tribesmen MC and Killer Beez gangs.
Worsening gun violence linked to gang turf wars, illicit drugs and the insidious cancer of organised crime has left more than 350 people with firearms injuries across Auckland in five years.
The Government banned military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles in 2019 after the Christchurch terror attacks carried out by a lone gunman across two city mosques.
By June the following year, a second set of gun law reforms was passed in Parliament.
The previous buyback scheme removed more than 56,000 weapons from circulation. More than $102 million was paid out to gun owners.
A second gun buyback started on February 1 to collect newly prohibited firearms, pistol carbine conversion kits and associated parts.
The gunman, Brenton Tarrant, is serving a life sentence without parole after admitting to murdering 51 people and attempting to murder 40 people and one charge of terrorism.
He is the first person in the country's history to be convicted of terrorism.
A national remembrance service was held yesterday to mark the tragedy in Christchurch, with more than 1000 people attending.
The city's Muslim community will today hold private prayers to remember the 51 killed at the Masjid Al-Noor and Linwood mosques.