Jacinda Ardern 'totally opposed' to all cops carrying guns, but supports new armed units

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reaffirmed that "it would be a very sad day in New Zealand to routinely arm the New Zealand police", but also says she supports the new routinely-armed armed response teams being rolled out.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Armed response teams are essentially always-ready, always-mobile armed police teams. Source: Media Release

The ART teams, with new vehicles, will carry armed offenders squad officers who will be routinely armed, and they will be deployed 24/7 in areas where it is deemed necessary.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Specialised vehicles will carry members of the armed offenders squad to incident scenes. Source: 1 NEWS

Auckland Council Manukau Ward Councillor Efeso Collins this morning voiced his concerns to TVNZ 1's Breakfast, saying the unconscious bias carried by all people - including police - will mean there will be more chance of minorities becoming shooting statistics at the hands of police.

Former police officer Tim McKinnel also spoke to Breakfast with Mr Collins, saying a convincing case has not been made as to why these ART units are needed when the AOS are already available, and when police are dealing with incidents as serious as March 15 just fine without firearms.

Former cop and Auckland Councillor critical of new armed police programme, but Deputy Commissioner says it's necessary

'I remember being terrified' - Breakfast host and former cop Jenny-May clarkson recalls her experience using firearms

Ms Ardern said that "I am totally opposed to the routine arming of the police," and that "what the Police Commissioner has announced - which is obviously operational and for the Police Commissioner - is not the general arming of police.

"What he's proposing is that his armed offenders team just be at the ready on a routine basis," Ms Ardern said.

"At the moment our armed offenders specialists carry out other duties, so if there's an issue, they'll often need to return to a station, get themselves kitted out and then make themselves available.

"My understanding is that what the Commissioner is proposing is that those teams be more readily available on an ongoing basis."

Police have already dispatched one of the ART units to Wairoa over the weekend after an unknown individual fired a shot at the police station there, as well as at an officer's home.

The ART unit was not dispatched to directly respond to the shootings, but to "patrol" while it is being investigated, and to be available if needed, the Gisborne Herald reported.

"What we're talking about is specialised trained individuals - people who are trained in, basically, doing what they can to avoid ever using their arms, but are called out if it's known, for instance, that there are weapons on the other side,' Ms Ardern said.

That's the current situation - whats being trialled here is making them more readily available for those scenarios."