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Winston Peters says gun buyback scheme could cost up to $300m - well over initial estimate

The Government's buyback scheme of soon-to-be illegal military style semi-automatic guns could cost $300 million - a massive increase from what was earlier predicted, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters acknowledged today.

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The deputy PM told TVNZ1’s Breakfast the cost was unknown, but could be $100 million higher than earlier suggested. Source: Breakfast

Regardless of cost, "we're going to have to do it if we're going to ensure the security of this country", Mr Peters told TVNZ1's Breakfast today.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier said the cost was expected to be between $100 and $200 million.

"We've got a pretty wide picture of what the cost could be because we don't know what the numbers are," Mr Peters said. "We don't know what we're looking at in terms of the number and the cost of those military style equipment which they're being required to hand back to us."

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PM Jacinda Ardern announced the scheme yesterday as part of a ban on military style semi-automatic rifles. Source: 1 NEWS

However, the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners reckons the buyback scheme could cost closer to $500 million.

COLFO, which represents about 30,000 people, wants compensation to be widened. "There's also things like ammunition, reloading equipment, cases, a whole lot of things associated with people owning those types of firearms for their legitimate reasons," Nicole McKee of COLFO said. 

Mr Peters assured today that people will be paid a fair price, although the specifics of how the buyback would work are yet to be determined.

Ms Ardern announced the ban of military style semi-automatic guns, as well as high-capacity magazines and attachments, on March 21.

The ban followed the terrorist attack on March 15 that killed 50 Muslims at two Christchurch mosques while they prayed.

People are required by law to hand back the weapons by September this year. Anyone failing to comply with the law changes could face up to 10 years in prison.