Hon Ron Mark MP, New Zealand First List MP
New Zealand First is supporting the Coalition Government’s Arms Legislation Bill with amendments.
“New Zealand First held many reservations following the second reading of this Bill. We’ve listened to submissions, and have worked hard to bring balance, in the context of operating as part of a Coalition Government,” said Ron Mark MP.
"In an area as sensitive as firearms, the same agency should not be shaping, regulating, administering and enforcing the law.
“Through our negotiations on the Bill we have attained agreement to establish an independent entity to take over firearms licensing and administration. The Minister of Police will be reporting back to Cabinet on options for the design and framework of the agency before the end of the year, and New Zealand First will be focussed on ensuring that this commitment is followed through.
“New Zealand First has reservations about the firearms register and we want to be confident that the privacy of New Zealanders is upheld. More time is needed, and the Supplementary Order Paper agreed by the Coalition Government pushes out the commencement date of the registry from 2 years to 3 years after Royal Assent, and mandates that the operation of the register be included in the required post-implementation review.” Mr Mark said.
New Zealand First also negotiated the following changes to the Bill, which are being advanced through the Government SOP:
- Reduced restrictions on firearms for pest control, by removing the requirement for owners or managers of an agricultural business to establish a company before they can use prohibited items for pest control.
- Bringing forward the post-implementation review from 5 years to 3 years, so the effectiveness, or otherwise, of the Act can be tested at an earlier date.
- Penalties and offences under the Act to be included in the post-implementation review, to ensure the law sets a balanced approach to enforcement.
“We are pleased that we were able to remove a bureaucratic impediment for farmers, who need access to semi-automatics for the purposes of pest control. We were not successful to include an exemption for sports shooters – and we intend to take this issue to the election,” Mr Mark said.
The Government SOP also makes a range of other sensible changes based on the Select Committee report, which New Zealand First supports, such as adding a regulation-making power to alter duration of licenses for exceptional situations like natural disasters and pandemics, having the firearms advisory group report to the Minister of Police rather than the Commissioner of Police, and increased certainty for importers of firearms items.