MEDIA RELEASES

This page will be updated as information comes to hand.

Welcome All

This page will include any media releases plus links for further information.

If you have had other questions directed your way, send them through to the PNZ President or Executive Officer and we will do our best to answer them or have them answered for us.

PROHIBITED FIREARMS AND PARTS BUYBACK PRICE LIST

20th February

Last night Parliament debated the second reading of the Arms Legislation Bill. New Zealand First, Labour, and Greens all supported the Bill.

But last night’s debate showed that the Government doesn’t have it all stitched up. This isn’t a done deal. There are still two more rounds of votes before the Bill can become law.

ACT and National maintained their opposition to the Bill. Click here and here to see the main speeches. They deserve credit for being principled because some of their supporters will think the Bill could improve their safety. They’ll have been influenced by the Government’s exploitation of the Christchurch massacre. But the Bill can only pass with NZ First support. The Bill can only change now if NZ First insist.

The speeches suggest clear differences within the Coalition government. It is not clear whether NZ First will end up supporting, amending, or rejecting the Bill. If they oppose this Bill, or make genuine improvements to it, they’ll have earned their place in history. 

An email directly from you to NZ First MPs could tip them over the line. Give them the spur (or courage) they need.

Here is the video of the 10minute speech by NZ First MP Ron Mark (the only NZ First MP to speak on the Bill last night).

Mr Mark makes all of the right noises - makes multiple references to the ‘Fair and Reasonable’ campaign and defends COLFO. But NZ First still voted with Stuart Nash.

Our lawyers, board and volunteers can only do so much. NZ First can stop the damage the Police are doing to our traditional trust and cooperation. We can all show NZ First MPs there will be gratitude. If NZ First support this Bill, they’ll be toast this election.

There are more than a quarter of a million licenced firearms owners - please make that voice heard NOW.

We’ve created a tool for you to send an email to every NZ First MP. Click here to send a message.

Tailor your message - especially if you voted NZ First at the last election. Make it polite but personal. If you have trusted Mr Peters and his team, say how. It does not need to be lengthy. MPs don’t have time for long messages. 

NZ First have said they stand for licenced firearms owners. The Bill as it came from Select Committee with their blessing was almost worse than it went in. Claiming to stand for us is worthless if they pass this Bill.

>> Click here to send an email <<

Thank you for your support.

Contact:

Enquiries:
Nicole McKee, Secretary
+64 27 440 0567 , secretary@colfo.org.nz

17th January

Dear Supporter,

I hope you’ve had a relaxing summer break.  Here at COLFO, we’ve continued working hard over the break to fight the Government’s unfair changes to firearms laws.

Apologies that it is a longer update than usual, but I wanted to show you how your support is enabling us to stand-up for responsible firearms owners.

First up – an update on our Court challenge

We have now received the Government’s statement of defence to our application for judicial review of Stuart Nash’s regulations preventing fair compensation on the ammo.  As soon as we hear back from the High Court about a hearing date, we will let you know.  To keep our supporters up to date with the case, we’ve created a dedicated page on our website with all the key files. 

Right now we are working on gathering our evidence and assembling a number of expert witnesses and reports.  The lawyers are also working on a second claim which is wider than just ammo – watch this space.

Buyback failures

To make the end of the Government’s failed buyback, we hosted a media conference at Parliament with ACT’s leader David Seymour. You can watch the presentations via Youtube here.

The conference, and the Government’s failure, was covered extensively by the media.  If you missed in the pre-Christmas rush, see:

Hike in fees for firearms licences and registration regime 

Parliament is back on 11 February, and soon after we are expecting the Police Minister to release a consultation paper covering the new fees which will be introduced to administer the new firearms laws.  We need to make sure this isn’t a backdoor attempt to price firearms owners on low incomes out of the sports  (or drive even more arms underground).

The other report we expect to land soon is the final report by the Select Committee tasked with examining the Arms Legislation Bill.  That report will be crucial for MPs yet to decide whether to support the Bill through its final reading.  Assuming the Police Minister and Prime Minister want the law through before the one year anniversary of the Christchurch terrorist attack, we could have as little as three weeks to defeat the Bill from 11 February.

If you have not already, now is the time to contact your local MP to tell them that this is a vote changing issue for you. Tell them you will not support them if they vote for the Bill.

We know that the direct approaches from our supporters is working.  In some areas the Government has backed down – but we need to redouble our efforts to beat them on the proposed register. 

Auditor-General’s audit of the firearm buy-back scheme

Last year the Office of Auditor-General announced that it would undertake an audit of the firearm buy-back scheme (details here).

The Auditor-General is independent of the Government of the day and is tasked with reviewing how public organisations are performing.  COLFO provided information to this inquiry, and Auditor General has indicated that the Report will be released early this year.  

Data breach: Our complaint to the Privacy Commissioner

Before Christmas, we wrote to the Privacy Commissioner on the data breach requesting that he provide updated advice to the Select Committee on the Arms Legislation Bill in light of the data breach. To our surprise, the Commissioner wrote back declining to do so.

Interestingly though, the Commissioner’s response reveals that the Police have now hired a security expert. This opens new lines of enquiry under official information laws for us to find out what advice the Police are receiving about keeping our information safe.

Firearms Prohibition Orders

For those interested, COLFO’s submission on the proposed Firearms Prohibition Orders is available here. We took the opportunity to once again point out that Police were proposing to treat criminals more lightly than licenced firearms owners! 

The case of Dieuwe de Boer

Finally in this update, if you’ve not already read it (Nicole sent a note last weekend linking to the article) go and have a look at the case of the Police raiding the house of a licenced firearms owner looking for a newly banned magazine, apparently on the basis of his select committee submission.  It is, to say the least, an incredible overreach by the Police if the details are correct.  Read Dieuwe’s blog post here.

Nicole was interviewed by Magic Talk, describing it as "the new normal now for New Zealand”.  Listen to Nicole’s interview here: Newshub: Police deliberately targeting 'law-abiding' Kiwis in gun raids - COLFO.

Thank you for your support.

Michael Dowling
Chairman
Council of Licenced Firearms Owners

19th December

MEDIA RELEASE 

FINAL WEEKS OF FIREARMS HAND-IN AN UNMITIGATED DISASTER

WEDNESDAY 18 DECEMBER 2019

The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) says the human error behind the availability of highly sensitive firearm location data held by Police has marred the final weeks of one of the Government’s biggest actions in 2019 – its response to the March attacks on Christchurch mosques.

It may now never be known how many people viewed the private data held on a Police website for owners to notify that they held prohibited firearms. But it is clear the database was mistakenly opened to unauthorised people, leading the Police to be sufficiently uncertain of the system’s security to shut it down for the essential final weeks of the hand-in.  

Lawyers for COLFO formally wrote to Police yesterday on what it has been able to confirm of the claims of access. Lawyers Franks Ogilvie are satisfied that more than one person viewed private data, but says details are imprecise and inconclusive.

Franks Ogilvie says they cannot know via people’s testimony with the same certainty that the Police’s IT specialists should be able to determine via website access data. 

Nicole McKee says the amount of access is not as important as the extent of the weakness; that a simple human error changing access settings made some of the most sensitive data on New Zealanders viewable by unauthorised people.

“The tool for implementing the Government’s hasty response to the March attack was compromised and shut down – and remains closed with only three days to go for people to register that they hold a firearm that will be prohibited at midnight Friday.

“If the Police are so confident in their IT specialists and claim that it was just a mistake over access settings, they would have restarted the system.

“The error has been an unmitigated disaster for the Police. They have wrecked the trust of owners right at the time they need them to hand in firearms. 

“They’ve embarrassed the Government by demonstrating the unreliability of the centrepiece of the follow-up firearm changes; a register of all firearms.”

Nicole McKee added that the hand-in and compensation programme had also been plagued by Police uncertainty over which firearms and parts were included or excluded from the ban, uncertainty over compensation for unexpected models, delays to appointing dealer hand-in channels and certified gunsmiths for modification, and uncertainty over ammunition and parts.

“Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. That’s what happens when you don’t think before you act. The Government should have waited until the report of the Royal Commission.”

Contact:

Enquiries:
Nicole McKee, Secretary
+64 27 440 0567 , secretary@colfo.org.nz

15th December

MEDIA RELEASE 

COLFO CONFIRMS NUMBER OF BANNED FIREARMS IN NEW ZEALAND AT UPPER END OF POLICE ESTIMATES

SUNDAY 15 DECEMBER 2019

The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) has estimated there are a total of 170,000 banned firearms in New Zealand, following an investigation of records from 11 firearms distributors and Customs imports. The announcement supports the higher limit released by Police earlier this year.

COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee says its estimate means the Police have only recovered 28% of the total number of newly prohibited firearms (the Police reported on 12 December that 47,486 firearms had been handed in).

While COLFO has always encouraged licenced firearms owners to comply with the law, McKee says she understands why some people are choosing not to engage with the process.

“The entire approach has been adversarial from the get-go. More firearms banned than they claimed, poor compensation, export bans ruining the opportunity of selling up valuable collections, and Police destroying prized and historic firearms.”

McKee says a lack of proper compensation for firearms, no compensation for prohibited ammunition, and no compensation for many banned parts is driving firearms owners towards taking their chances by not handing in.

“The Minister of Police and Prime Minister claim the ban was to remove military-style semi-automatics from circulation. But far more firearms than these are included; some owners will see this as unfair, while others might not even realise that they are in possession of a now-prohibited firearm because it is not a MSSA.”

McKee says questions will need to be asked of the Government at the 20 December deadline.

“There’s no way Police will collect over 100,000 more firearms this week, before the ban comes into force. The scheme is looking like a failure due to the rush on implementing political and ideological remedies instead of developing a more fair and reasonable hand-in regime over a more conducive timeline.”

Contact:

Enquiries:
Nicole McKee, Secretary
+64 27 440 0567 , secretary@colfo.org.nz

3rd December

Dear Supporter

As you can imagine it’s been a hectic day as we work through the issues of the last 36 hours.

Given the concerns many of our supporters have in relation to personal and firearm security, we’re emailing you to update you on the latest information.

First, the Police say on their website here that they are contacting 35 people who’ve had their full information (including bank account details, licence information, etc) accessed. If the Police are right that the number of files actually opened is so low, that is very good news.  If you have not been contacted, you can sleep a little easier as the Police do not believe you are one of those people whose bank account and licence information has been compromised.

In addition, there are up to 500 people whose name and address information was accessed. The Police will also contact those people.

As per my earlier email, lawyers assisting COLFO received reports that others, including non dealers, could access the information. This is contrary to the Police assurances. Our own lawyers are following up, but we may not have a confirmed position for some time.  We know that some of the claims were from people who are not willing to substantiate now. Some may have reasons they find compelling. They include concerns about retribution or having difficulty with decisions in relation to compensation under the buyback.  

The interim report from the lawyers is available here.  

We will keep you up to date.

Thank you for your support.

Nicole.

3rd December

Dear Supporter

Yesterday we learned that sensitive information about tens of thousands of law abiding firearms owners was not kept secure by the Police. The stakes of this campaign have now been raised and I am writing to you to ask for your support.

We are concerned that information in a firearms register, such as what firearms you own, where they are, and how they are secured, could fall into the wrong hands. We’ve been in the media for months making exactly this point.

Until yesterday, the Police scoffed at us. The Police Association’s President even said we were “scaremongering” and a firearms register is no different from “registering your car, or your pets”.

But now we’ve been proved right: with the details of tens of thousands of licenced firearm owners being left online for anyone to access.

The Police Minister, Stuart Nash, and the Police spokespeople have said that only a single dealer could access the information. This is totally wrong. We have now verified that many, many more people accessed the data.  And contrary to what the Police have said, it wasn't just firearms dealers.

And it wasn’t even a hack. It was incompetence by either the Police or a contractor they say is responsible.

Those affected are the decent people who in good faith handed in their firearms – and the Police didn’t even bother to make sure their personal and financial information was kept safe.

Phill, the Government must now cancel the firearms register until cast-iron guarantees can be made about security (if that is even possible).

Yesterday’s events are game-changing. We need your support to fight against the bigwigs at the Police Association and within the Government who either don’t understand or don’t care about the risks of a register. 

CHIP-IN $1000

CHIP-IN $500

CHIP-IN $250

CHIP-IN $100

With your support, we can hold the Police to account and stop the Government creating the ultimate shopping list for criminals.

Thank you for your support.

Nicole McKee

29th November

Most firearms owners will have been emailed yesterday by Police announcing new regulations which are coming into effect today.

Police say they just provide safeguards for people waiting for decisions on exemptions when the amnesty ends on 20 December. So far, so good – it seems likely that thousands of people will be in that predicament. They include people seeking pest control exemptions, people asking for license endorsements to continue as antique collectors and other exemptions provided for in the law. Clearly the process has overwhelmed Police resources. So an effective extension of the 20 December deadline for such people was becoming unavoidable.  

But the regulations fail to deal with a range of similar problems.

More ominously they go further.

New regulation 28LA lets the Commissioner unilaterally decide not to compensate fully for more than the quantity of parts and magazines that ‘the Commissioner considers appropriate for the reasonable personal use of the person’.

This new regulation reneges on the key reassurance from the government, reiterated this month by the Prime Minister in talking to Stephen Colbert, that people would get fair compensation.

This regulation should seriously worry all New Zealanders, and particularly lawyers who defend the rule of law. We inherited with the Treaty the right to compensation for property confiscated by the government. The Arms Act before the changes earlier this year had provisions showing proper respect for that principle.

This new regulation effectively says – “If you’ve had more than we think you needed, you don’t deserve normal rights. We’ll just seize your excess and for that only pay you less, unrelated to what it is worth now, possibly only what you paid, if you can tell us what that was.

Many collectors will have far more parts than they will ever need for personal use. Some people just love having everything anyone might possibly break, or look for. Others will be the amateur go-to fixer of broken firearms. They’ll have sheds of parts they’ve painstakingly built up, boxes of rare parts were made unlawful overnight.  

New regulation 28LC now means to get compensation that you may have to prove what price you bought things for. How many people can do that with much-loved items, or parts accumulated over the years, for anything they have?

Less than a month from the end of the amnesty, they’re trying to clarify key provisions on compensation. They are still not consulting enough to get things right.

We’ll report further on some of the further changes they should make - like

  • confirming that people still with prohibited ammunition post 30 September (when the amnesty on ammunition ended) will not be prosecuted when they try to surrender it
  • clarifying the concessions for people caught up in delayed gun modification The Police list of gunsmiths approved for modifications did not come out till 23 September, and they are overwhelmed.

In the meantime, you can read Nicole statement to the media here. Thank you for your continued support.

Michael Dowling
Chairman
Council of Licenced Firearms Owners

22nd November

Dear Supporter

We’ve just posted on our website answers from our lawyers at Franks Ogilvie to questions people have asked about prohibited ammo.

For example, some want to know if they can hold off handing it in until the COLFO court case rules on whether the government should be paying compensation. Sadly, the answer is basically no. Their advice is to contact the police and surrender it promptly if it is clear that your ammo is prohibited. But you should read the detail on this first.

If you can’t remember just what the Police claim is banned, their list of banned ammunition is available here – it includes all tracer ammunition, projectiles that have a steel or tungsten carbide penetrator “intended to achieve better penetration”, “armour-piercing ammunition” (defined as ammo that typically uses hardened or specialised core materials). The COLFO court case challenges the legality of including tracer, and the reference to a steel penetrator. COLFO’s case does not challenge the banning of armour piercing ammo.

If you think you have ammo that's not prohibited, but can’t really be sure because the Order’s definitions don’t apply properly, then it may be reasonable to hold it until the law is clarified.

In any case, when you surrender it or destroy it, keep good written or photographic records of it, for a later claim for fair compensation.

The FAQ also suggests that if you think the ammo is not prohibited as defined, but the police seem to be saying that it is, you might want to avoid direct enquiry to the police to discuss the issue. Having someone else enquire might help ensure you are not an early target for a raid.

Police call centre staff are taking a pragmatic and sensible approach to deadlines and arrangements for handing the ammo in. Essentially they are ignoring the clear words of the regulations and the law. The law says there is no amnesty or leeway on timing, from 1 October. We feel sorry for these staff – having to ignore the law as written to avoid absurdity. It is never a good thing to have to commend front line police for making up the rules as they go, just to avoid having to enforce badly conceived and drafted law their bosses and the Minister refuse to fix, or to discuss with COLFO.

Thank you for your support.

Nicole McKee

22nd November

Dear Supporter,

There’s been some developments on a number of fronts over the last seven days.

Royal Commission delay good reason to delay Arms Legislation Amendment Bill

The Royal Commission into the Christchurch terror attack has a four month extension so it now won’t be reporting back until the end of April 2020.

It means the Commission is taking its time to work through all of the 1,100 submissions. 800 of those were via our Fair and Reasonable campaign.

We say that if the Commission needs more time to unravel the failings that lead to the mosque attack, then the Government needs more time to work out if its Arms Legislation addresses the errors that allowed the mosque attacks. We’re calling on the Government to at least slow down the passage of the Arms Legislation Bill and wait until the Commission has reported back before it is voted on in Parliament.  After all, the law changes are apparently about stopping a repeat of Christchurch, so let’s wait and see what the Inquiry says.

You can read my comments to media here.

Retailer collections coming to an end on 30 November

Last week the Police announced that participating firearm dealers running a collection service from their premises as part of the prohibited firearms and parts amnesty and collection scheme will cease doing so at the end of the month. If you wish to avoid the Police run events, we strongly encourage you to use this channel before 30 November or encourage your local club to host an event for its members.

You can read the announcement on the Police’s website hereA list of participating retailers is here.

But amnesty being extended

Yesterday morning the Police announced that the amnesty on prosecution will continue (for those who subsequently hand in newly illegal arms) into next year – but that no compensation will be paid for firearms handed-in after 20 December.

In short, while we continue to push for fairer compensation, it is our strong advice that you hand-in applicable firearms (and parts) to take advantage of the compensation.

Buyback is turning into another failure for the Government

Responding to the news from Police, yesterday I was on Radio NZ’s Morning Report. I used the opportunity to point out the failures of the confiscation process: only 38,000 firearms have been handed in of an estimated 200,000 prohibited firearms in circulation. Listen to the interview (and Police’s reaction) here.

Proposed changes to Government’s Arms Legislation Bill

The Arms Legislation Bill goes from bad to worse. Police Minister Stuart Nash has introduced a ‘Supplementary Order Paper’ which the Select Committee has asked for public submissions on by Friday 29 November 2019.

If you are a pistol shooter, use pistol carbine conversion kits you need to take note of this proposed new change. 

According to legal advice provided to the Auckland Branch of the Antiques Arms Association, most, if not all, historic and collector firearms will become prohibited firearms and not pistols. You can read the legal advice here.

Right now our lawyers are writing a submission. We think the changes are poorly thought through, and again leave enormous discretion for the Minister to increase the scope of prohibited firearms without having to seek approval from Parliament.

We’ll be in touch next week with an update, but in the meantime, I strongly encourage you to read Nicolas Taylor’s paper here and consider making your own submission here.

Resource library for those still to make an oral submission

Finally this week, we've had a lot of requests from our supporters for copies of our previous submissions and advice we've emailed out over the last few months. As a result, we have created a resource library that includes these, and advice drafted by an Ex-MP on how to be most persuasive when presenting to a select committee. Click here to access the resource.

Kind regards

Nicole McKee

12th November 2019

Dear Supporter,

First legal claim now filed and served

Thanks to the support of thousands of New Zealanders like you, COLFO has asked the High Court to review Police Minister Stuart Nash's regulations banning certain ammunition and providing no compensation for surrendered ammunition.

You can read COLFO’s statement to the media here, and the Statement of Claim for Judicial Review here.

What this claim covers

In short, our claim is that the Minister’s decision to ban certain types of ammunition was unlawful.  He is wrong to have considered that the banned ammo types had no valid civilian use and were of any higher risk than other types of ammunition.

We have asked the Court for orders that the decision not to compensate for newly banned ammunition was wrong on the basis that:          

(1) it does not promote the objects of the Arms Act; and

(2) is contrary to the general legal principle that, if government powers are used to deprive lawful owners of property rights, they are entitled to proper compensation.

Why the focus on the ammo – what about compensation for firearms?

The key principle is that licenced firearms owners ought to be fairly compensated for changes in regulations.  To establish this principle, we have chosen the strongest case first, where the mistakes and wrongfulness are stark, and won’t be bogged down by disputes and competing evidence on valuations (as it would be if we were to challenge the Government’s price schedule for the buy-back in first instance).

Our lawyers are of a firm view that the best way to attack the low levels of compensation for the current buyback is to establish the precedent that fair compensation is essential in order for the Government to achieve the objects under the Arms Act.

COLFO’s view is that the very low levels of firearms being handed-in to the Police is primarily because the Government is trying to be stingy with the price paid.  By establishing that the Government’s decision not to compensate owners of ammo at all is both unlawful and counter-productive in achieving what the law is intended to achieve, we will be on a much better footing to force the Government to re-look at the whole compensation regime.

It is worth remembering too that the majority of the newly banned ammo was purchased directly from the Government (such as expired Defence Force stock).  That makes the lack of compensation even more unreasonable.

What comes next?

We will let you know as soon as we have a date to fight this in court.

This is the first set of proceedings and is focused on the compensation arrangements.  In the context of our fight against the proposed firearms register, and the possibility of yet another tranche of law changes, it is absolutely essential we get this right and set the precedent so if the Government move to ban even more types of arms, at least fair and reasonable compensation is actually paid.

Using the June law changes rushed through Parliament, the Police Minister could ban certain firearm types by the back door (avoiding Parliament altogether).  If they get away with banning ammo or accessories without paying compensation, who's to say what the Minister will ban next?  For example, banning ammo calibres would render whole classes of firearms totally unusable in New Zealand with no compensation.

I will email you soon with more information about our fight on the firearms register, and why we fear it is the first step to more types of firearms being banned.

In the meantime, thank you for your support.

Kind regards

Nicole McKee

7th November 2019

Good morning team,

Below is the link to this year’s Trust and Confidence Survey.  We would be grateful if you would distribute the survey link to your membership to complete. We will close the survey on Monday and begin analysing results.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JVMKMN3

Thank you once again for your continued support.

Kind regards

Nicole McKee

24th October 2019

I spent most of yesterday listening to the first day of public hearings by the Parliamentary Select Committee considering the Arms Legislation Bill.

In summary, the firearms community put their best foot forward: those who spoke presented as normal people from all walks of life, rationally revealing all the flaws in the bill.

The Committee heard from representatives of groups including the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association and Fish & Game Council, through to others such as the Police Association, Gun Control NZ and the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand. You can view a video of the Select Committee hearings here.

David Seymour (ACT), Andrew Bayley and Brett Hudson (National), Kiritapu Allan (Labour) and Clayton Mitchell (NZ First) deserve credit for plainly having got themselves up to speed, and asking penetrating questions.

But, the Committee’s Chair (Dr Deborah Russell – Labour) was revealing. Even when a majority of the committee supported a request for time for more questions, they were over-ridden by the Chair.

Our lawyers tell us that it’s unusual. There is a strong expectation that Select Committee Chairs reflect the will of a majority, on procedures. We read it as a determination by the Chair to do what she’s likely been told, and ram this Bill through with the minimum time they can get away with for consultation. From seeing the members at work, however, we think they might insist on enough time to get all the information they need.

What was said on day one

All submitters agreed that Brenton Tarrant should never have received a firearms licence. In fact, even our opponents appear on our page that more personalised interviewing and screening of firearms licence applicants is needed, rather the impersonal and bureaucratic tick-box exercises.

All firearm community submitters were against the firearms register on principle, but also because of the practical difficulties and costs. For example, as the Bill is drafted, every owner will have to update the register whenever a firearm is moved from one location to another.

The Law Society’s submission dispassionately highlighted many of the inconsistencies in the Bill. One that particularly drew the Committee’s attention was the great difference in penalty between presenting a firearm at another person (up to 6 months imprisonment, or fine not exceeding $10,000) and carrying an unregistered (illegal) firearm (up to 5 years imprisonment).

When it came time for Gun Control NZ to submit, things sometimes got a bit tetchy. In a bizarre exchange, Dr Hera Cook (from Gun Control NZ) said that the Government needs to begin taking firearms off people over 50-years old due to their “cognitive decline”.

It’s fair to say she didn’t make any friends on the Committee with that comment. I encourage you to watch the exchange with NZ First MP Clayton Mitchell here (scroll forward to 1 hour 52 minutes).

COLFO’s submission

The first day demonstrated the challenge of short hearings. COLFO opted not to present today, so we can (hopefully) provide more detail and evidence against the Bill at a later hearing.

Thank you for your continued support.

Michael Dowling
Chairman
Council of Licenced Firearms Owners
(on behalf of the Fair and Reasonable Campaign)

18th September 2019

Dear Friend, 

On Friday afternoon Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Police Minister Stuart Nash introduced to Parliament the latest round of firearms legislation changes. As our lawyers work through the finer detail, a new campaign has just launched with the aim to dramatically increase the restrictions on licensed firearms owners like you.

According to the lobby group’s website “Gun Control NZ”’ are pushing the Government to:

  1. extend the ban on semi-automatic firearms to all semi-automatic .22s (even those that hold 10 round or less); and
  2. extend the ban on semi-automatic firearms to all semi-automatic shotguns (even those that hold 5 rounds or less).

In short, this group is campaigning to ban all duck shooting involving semi-autos. We say that is a step too far.

Even for those who can show a genuine need for these firearms (such as farmworkers, or clay target shooters with a disability) the group want to limit ownership to one shotgun or one rifle in this category!

The group’s primary spokesperson is an Otago University ‘public health’ academic with a background in campaigning. It is also backed by ‘ActionStation’ a government-funded political group with links to the Labour and Green Parties, it is clear that anti-firearms zealots are going to try to use the horrific events in Christchurch 6-months ago and the Government's Bill, as a trojan horse to further their ideological opposition to responsible use and enjoyment of firearms. That’s why we are asking firearms owners like you to chip-in to make sure we can continue to fight back.

Will you ensure there is a balanced debate and prevent the Government curtailing to those wanting to dramatically widen the scope of the proposed new round of law changes?

Your confidential donation via our secure website will ensure we can fight back.

Click here to support the cause.

Thank you for your support to ensure the voices of responsible, law-abiding users of firearms are heard.

Nicole McKee
Fair and Reasonable Campaign
www.fairandreasonable.co.nz

12th September 2019

Dear Supporter,

The current firearms law reform is being pushed through by the Government as a direct result of the horrific events that occurred in Christchurch six months ago.

Right now, a Royal Commission is looking into the events, and what lessons can be learned.  The Commission has a mandate to make significant recommendations to the Government which may include even more law changes, restrictions and bans that affect you as a firearms owner.  We are worried that a number of groups will try to simplify the issue, blame firearms, and call on further bans and restrictions.

Earlier today we publicly released the submission made by the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners

At the bottom of this email is a copy of our media release linking to the text of the lengthy submission.

In short, we submit that a key failing was the Police’s lack of prudence in their assessment of Brendan Tarrant as a ‘fit and proper’ person to own firearms.

We argue that rather than new laws to ban firearms, or further regulation of the fit and proper test, the Police (or another suitable agency) should be properly resourced enabling them to focus on ensuring good administration of the Arms Act.  We suggested that administration and vetting changes implemented post-2015 have potentially made passing the Police vetting significantly easier.

We have drafted a customisable submission template for you to send the Commission – it only takes a few minutes to ensure your voice as a responsible firearms owner is heard.

Ideally, we would like to highlight for the Commissioners the difficulty in passing Police vetting prior to 2015, and compare that to the relaxed processes Police have used since then (and what we understand enabled Brenton Tarrant to get a firearms licence, despite clear warning signs that he should not have been assessed as meeting the ‘fit and proper’ test).

> Click here to make a submission to the Royal Commission <

Our lawyers have advised us that the Commission will not publicly release submissions or personal details of submitters and all information will be stored on a secure database. Similarly, we will hold your information in the strictest confidence.

So please take a moment to use the online submission tool our team has created to ensure the Royal Commission is left in no doubt that responsible firearms owners like you share an interest in a safer New Zealand, but that it is unlikely to be achieved by further crackdowns on the enjoyment of firearms-based hobbies by law-abiding firearms owners.

Nicole McKee
Fair and Reasonable Campaign
www.fairandreasonable.co.nz

29th August 2019

Dear Supporter,

Leaked draft of next round of law changes

On Tuesday the National Party went public on what it claims is a leaked copy of the Government's draft legislation detailing the next round of firearms law reforms.

We have also obtained a copy of the draft Bill, the details of which are best summarised in the NZ Herald coverage here, and in the One News story Nicole appeared in on Tuesday night.

At first take, new measures such as the dramatic increases in penalties for existing offences, defy logic. For example, the maximum fines for any breach of licence requirements will go from $5,000 up to $20,000. Failing to produce a firearm when the Police ask for it, will see a maximum fine increase from $1,000 to $10,000.

It reminds me of what Peter King wrote in 2010 in the AA Directions magazine on the psychology behind road design: "the crudest form of behaviour modification is punishment. (Fines) work to some extent but not on everyone. The best way to change behaviour is to change environments."

This Government is changing the environment for the worse.

Currently, the Police vet firearms licence applicants to determine if they are fit and proper. In doing so they must confirm that potential licence holders have demonstrated that they are trustworthy and responsible. This is, for example, reflected in the number and nature of any convictions for breaches of the law in the past.

The Government has not provided any evidence that the existing level of fines has resulted in firearm owners ignoring the requirements. Instead, they are potentially introducing escalated fines to imply there is a problem and imply that firearm owners are no better than common criminals.

Rather than offering a fair price in the buyback to encourage the right behaviour, the Government appears intent on vilifying and undermining the reputation of licensed firearm owners in an effort to save money in their program of confiscation.

Police Minister Stuart Nash, while not confirming the leaked proposals are accurate, told One News that reform is "about keeping our community safe".

But if the Government really wants to keep Kiwis safe it won’t look at more ways to punish law-abiding, responsible firearms owners, it will look at ways of removing firearms from the people who are the real problem – the crooks.

The proposed changes also 'clampdown' on gun clubs. But gun clubs and ranges are places where those interested in firearms can go to safely enjoy the use of our legal firearms. The proposals the Government is pushing are likely to drive people from ranges to where safety protocols may not be as high. These changes have the potential to reduce the number of ranges, when we should be increasing them to control and promote the right behaviour with firearms.

Firearm associations have worked hard for many decades, to build ranges and encourage club attendance, that ensure the right behaviours and safety practices are passed on to existing and new license holders. These changes have the potential to destroy that work in quick time driving shooting to back to an uncontrolled activity.

Thankfully, the Government has an opportunity to rethink its proposals. If safety really is the priority, they need to start again and work constructively with firearms owners, not against us.

Clarification about timing of registration of newly prohibited firearms

In April it had been indicated that there would be a cut off date of 30 September to register prohibited firearms with New Zealand Police. Our advice was taken from media reports rather than the legislation subsequently imposed later in June 2019.

We have now been advised that the registration of prohibited firearms ends when the amnesty ends on 20 December 2019. But what is concerning is that 30 September looms quickly upon us and there is a provision in the Regulations that requires ammunition to be registered by 30 September.

We are concerned that this advice has not been promoted within the firearms community and that compensation is not being offered for the confiscation of ammo. Ironically, a high proportion of this private property was actually purchased from Government sources meaning the Government were prepared to take our money to legally purchase this ammunition but are now not prepared to pay us back for it.

NZ Post issues

This week we attended a meeting with NZ Post, Police, NZ Customs and representatives from firearms retailers. NZ Post has been holding parcels and post relating to firearms parts since March 2019. Last week they released the post that was received by them from 15 March 2019 to 30 June 2019. They are still holding post received through them from 1 July 2019. The groups that attended yesterday’s meeting intend to support NZ Post and other transit companies to find solutions to distribution of the remaining held post and future postal mail. If you are someone affected, please let us know.

On the proposed firearms register

Finally in this update, in case you missed it, Nicole was on TV1's Breakfast explaining why a firearms register will not keep Kiwis safe. Click here or the image below to watch the interview.

Thank you for your support.

Michael Dowling
Chairman
Council of Licenced Firearms Owners
(on behalf of the Fair and Reasonable Campaign)

12th August 2019

Dear Supporter,

We’re hearing a wide variety of experiences of the police collection events.  While some owners found the process straight-forward, many others report hostility, and interrogation of people with parts and magazines.

In response to those concerns, we have today released two pieces of advice on our website covering:

  1. how to rigorously prepare for the event (if you choose that avenue), or
  2. information about waiting to hand in firearms until the alternatives to the Police-hosted events are announced.

Your property is being banned by the Government. You deserve maximum value. We advise how to do that within current rules, while we continue the campaign for better compensation.

You have done nothing wrong. The Police have previously vetted you as a fit and proper person to hold your firearms. We advise how to maintain your dignity and calm as you comply with the ban, while we continue the campaign against its hasty and ill-informed measures. 

You can read the advice on our website here.

Please let us know about your experience with the collection events.

Thank you for your support.

Michael Dowling
Chairman
Council of Licenced Firearms Owners
(on behalf of the Fair and Reasonable Campaign)

9th August 2019

Dear Supporter,

Thanks to the financial support from people like you, this week the Fair and Reasonable campaign appointed one of New Zealand's foremost litigators, Jack Hodder QC, to lead our class action against the Government on behalf of responsible firearms licence holders. 

Jack Hodder QC

Along with our solicitors, Jack has identified several potential class actions - and in the coming weeks we'll be able to tell you more about the legal steps which the team are currently hard at work on.

The Bill for the Government’s second round of amendments to the Arms Act is due to be published this month. While we have started work on the cases/legal avenues we have shortlisted, more potential actions may arise from the Bill.

Similarly though, we do not want to throw our limited financial resources to legal actions that are made moot by the Government's next round of law changes.  That’s why we have had to keep our powder dry.

We have a number of lawyers supporting the QC in strategy, Arms Act interpretation, researching, and implementation. The legislation was rushed but our team response has to be carefully formed to have the best impact.  If you're a lawyer, or able to assist with the effort, please let me know - we're doing as much as we can to make sure our limited funds go as far as possible to stand up for the cause, and hold the Government accountable.

Thank you again for your support of this effort for fair and reasonable firearms laws.

Michael Dowling
Chairman
Council of Licenced Firearms Owners
(on behalf of the Fair and Reasonable Campaign)

25th July 2019

Dear Supporter,

Since Monday’s announcement, we have had a lot of questions from supporters about details of the Government’s new round of firearms law changes.

Michael, other COLFO Board members and I are just out of a full-day "Firearms Community Advisory Forum" meeting where we were presented with Cabinet Minutes. We had the opportunity to quiz Police managers about the details contained in the Government's proposals.

During the afternoon, the Police published these Minutes on their website allowing us to take our relevant copies away. The Cabinet Minutes are effectively the instructions from the politicians to the officials who are drafting the Bill.

The Minutes contain more detail than the public announcements Michael sent through earlier in the week. For those interested in reading them, we have uploaded the Minutes to our website here.

We will be working through those details in the days to come – and have our eye out for the draft Bill which will be released next month. And of course, we can't rule out last-minute changes in Parliament or the Select Committee. 

Until then, thank you for your support and making this effort possible.


Nicole McKee
Fair and Reasonable Campaign
www.fairandreasonable.co.nz

22nd July 2019

Dear COLFO Members and Supporters,

At the end of the first week the COLFO Fair & Reasonable Campaign is going well www.fairandreasonable.co.nz , so a big thank you to all who have donated so far.

Please understand there is a lot of work involved with this, which goes on behind the scenes, that is keeping the COLFO Chair and Secretary fully engaged with the legal team and dealing with queries from media and others. Further work is being done to enhance the website and also provide all those who have contributed to the campaign with e-mail updates.  So if you want to know what is going on donate and sign up.  It is planned to send out an e-mail update to subscribers within a few days.

In the future we will move our email updates to only come from the Fair and Reasonable site, so make sure you are signed up.

See also the attached Ad for an exciting draw at this years’ Sika Show in support of the campaign.

Black market sales

We are aware that both gangs and Police are active in looking to buy prohibited firearms, do the right thing.

Buy Back Collection Events have started

We will leave you to draw your own conclusions:

Christchurch - A total of $1,022,599 has been compensated to firearms owners, and along with 542 firearms there was a total of 578 parts and accessories collected.

Waipu – Police acknowledge the 42 firearms owners who turned out yesterday, 17 July, in Waipu for the first rural buyback event in the country.

Provisional figures from the Waipu event saw 68 firearms and 122 parts and accessories handed in.

Contrary to rumours at the weekend we are advised that you can attend such an event more than once.

Before you rush off to drop of your guns and cash up, be advised that Police have yet to organise gunsmith to carry out modifications to your magazines,

engage dealers to act as collecting points or people to value high values items. Our advice is to wait until all these things are properly organised.

Following the first confiscation collection in Christchurch over the Weekend TV3 and NewsTalk ZB have been challenging how this confiscation from law abiding will actually make NZ safer. Police reaction has been to claim that firearms in the hands of criminals have all been stolen from firearms licence holders. These throw away glib statements might sound believable but actual evidence is needed otherwise the statements are nothing more than guess work. The good thing is that some media and politicians are asking for this evidence and not accepting 'I have no comment' or I'm a senior officer with lots of experience' as a reason for not providing the facts that are needed to support decisions to focus on law abiding people instead of criminal behaviour and or Police procedure. 

Remember, if people react to the real story about the firearms that have been included in this confiscation and the less than market compensation with disbelief and concern, ask them a very important question-What do you intend to do about it?

Michael Dowling

Chairman

Council of Licenced Firearms Owners

11th July 2019

Dear COLFO Members and Supporters,

The Fair and Reasonable Campaign https://www.fairandreasonable.co.nz/ got off to a fantastic start yesterday.  Thank you to all of you who signed up and donated.  Several people have asked that daily figures of the total sum donated be published, this information will only be published when it suits the overall strategy. Please continue to share widely with all your friends and family, both shooters and non shooters who believe the firearm community has been badly served by this government.

Applying for a “P” Endorsement for Prohibited Magazines Only

If you are application for a “P” endorsement is solely for the purpose of  retaining now “Prohibited magazines” for Restricted Weapons, I have been advised by the endorsement team at PNHQ [ ProhibitedFirearmEndorsement@police.govt.nz ] you do not need to complete the Section F question “Where do you propose to store the vital parts?”, simply write here: Magazines Only.

In the Media

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/394114/firearms-licence-vetting-needs-to-close-overseas-crimes-loophole-nz-gun-owners

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/07/gun-conversion-kits-not-in-the-spirit-of-the-law-gun-control-advocate.html  

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/114074824/multiple-failings-by-auckland-police-in-disappearance-of-nine-firearms

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/114102387/christchurch-mayor-calls-for-ban-on-expanding-bullets-designed-to-do-great-damage

Please continue to look out for your mates, who may be suffering from the stress and anxiety of this continuing saga.

Stay strong,

Michael Dowling

Chairman

Council of Licenced Firearms Owners 

10th July 2019

Dear Supporter,

The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) has just launched a new campaign to fight against the Government ramming through reactive, and impractical firearms laws which penalise you as a responsible firearms owner.

The Fair and Reasonable Campaign is a coalition of firearms owners and stakeholders who are concerned as a result  of the rushed firearms legislation introduced by the Government in April.

But to be effective, we need your help.  Will you chip-in to the campaign for Fair and Reasonable gun laws?

We have launched our campaign website at www.fairandreasonable.co.nz which will develop as our campaign gains momentum.

Sign up now to receive updates at www.fairandreasonable.co.nz

Thank you for your support to ensure any changes to our firearms laws are Fair and Reasonable.

Yours sincerely

Michael Dowling

Chairman

Council of Licenced Firearms Owners 

PS. This campaign is totally crowdfunded, and without your help, we can’t fight for your rights as a responsible gun owner.  Donate now at www.fairandreasonable.co.nz/donate to make sure there is someone on your side in the coming firearms debates.

Fair and Reasonable Campaign Media Release

3rd July 2019

Dear COLFO Members and Supporters,

SHOULD YOU RUSH TO HAND IN YOUR FIREARMS?

Some of our members have expressed to us their safety concerns at attending “collection events”.  We encourage you to be mindful as well. Before handing in your now “Prohibited Firearms” think about which of the four hand-in options would better suit you, weigh up the pros and the cons:

  1. Handing in at the “Collection Events” – concerns have been expressed about exposure of yourself and your family to the lenses of the media, gangs or the curious public. Others are worried they may see their mug shot on the 6pm News, in the local paper, on Facebook or Instagram. Observers may take down your car number plate giving them the ability to trace you back to your home address. Armed Police will be in attendance and no doubt anti-gun protestors will also be there. A positive of this event is that you will leave with the knowledge of what your firearm has been valued at.
  2. Handing in to a Dealer – This has still not been finalised by Police. We expect that dealers should be able to advise you the value of your firearms at the time they are handed in, after all, they too are “experts”. It may be that Police will not let dealers advise you of the value of your firearm and you would be expected to hand it over and wait to be told its value at a later date, after its been destroyed. But we await details on this. If Police are not rushing, why should you?
  3. Handing in at a Police station – again, if there is a list of firearms prices and your handing in to your local Arms Officer then they should be “expert” enough to put a price on your handed in firearm. Handing in and then awaiting post demolition valuation isn’t encouraging. We await further information on this – but again, if Police are not rushing, why should you?
  4. Police collecting from your home – Police have advised they will attend at your home and collect 10 or more firearms. We would expect that one of their expert valuers will be on hand to value the firearms at the time of collection. We are still awaiting advice and final details on this. We’ll say it again, if Police are not rushing, why should you?

There are still unresolved issues around compensation and collection by dealers as well as modification of prohibited firearms and magazines. There are also further law changes to be announced. We remind you that bad publicity as a gun owner could affect your employment, social standing in your community and ability to travel overseas.

It is our place to advise you of what you need to do to comply with the law, regardless of whether you agree with how the changes were made or what the changes mean. We are still working on that for you in the background and will update you as we progress. In the meantime, keep looking after yourselves and your mates.

Mike Dowling - COLFO Chairman

1st July 2019

Good afternoon,

I have received a number of enquires in relation to firearm modifications through the buy-back scheme.

Police are currently designing the process for engaging gunsmiths approved to undertake this work, in accordance with the new firearm regulations.

As it stands, Police have not approved gunsmiths under this scheme. Once the appropriate process has been finalised, Police will release the details for gunsmiths to apply to be approved for the purposes of this scheme.  

Please tell your customers/networks to continue to store their firearms safely as we work through this process. I have spoken to several gunsmiths who are receiving firearms for modifications, even though they are not currently approved, which is causing issues for them. There is no guarantee that firearm owners will be reimbursed for modifications that have been completed before the details of this process have been announced.

We are well aware of the impacts of this and we are working to address this issue as quickly as possible. You will appreciate how important it is that we get this process right. Police would like to thank the firearms community for their patience as we work to get this process in place.

Many thanks

Morgan

INSPECTOR MORGAN GRAY

26th June

Good morning,

We have decided to put out a series of Vlogs (video blogs) to help assist the firearms community to understand the changes to legislation and the amnesty and buyback processes. These will focus on the commonly asked questions and will be updated frequently. Please forward these to your contacts and networks, they will also be published on our police website. I am happy for these to be posted on social media, I am well aware that I have a face for radio but feel privileged to assist the firearms community as much as I can with understanding the changes and what they need to do.

Many thanks

Morgan

INSPECTOR MORGAN GRAY

Download VLOG 1 from Morgan HERE

Download VLOG 2 from Morgan HERE

Dowload VLOG 3 (Christchurch venue details) HERE

Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement gave an interview on Radio NZ. It's about 12 minutes, Download HERE

24th June

Dear COLFO Members and Supporters,

Many licensed owners are now aware of the value placed on the Prohibited Firearms and Magazine that you own and the process for handing them in.  If not visit the Police website where you will find the details: https://www.police.govt.nz/advice/firearms-and-safety/changes-firearms-law-prohibited-firearms

For some of you the prices offered are fair and reasonable, for others they are far below what one should expect. For parts you only get 70% of their value even if brand new. There is no compensation for now redundant ammunition, reloading tools, accessories, security, safes and so on which is a gross injustice. Further, if you wish to retain any of the newly prohibited items you are required to apply for a NEW endorsement at a cost of $204.

COLFO is planning to take legal action, likely to be by way of a class action and will be seeking financial assistance from all licensed firearms owners. Legal action requires careful planning and cannot be rushed. There are more legislation changes on the horizon and we would be foolish to act now before the full portrait is complete and on show. There is a possibility that with enough funding, we can take up multiple issues through the justice system. We will be requesting contributions soon, we are in the process of setting up the best way to receive funds for our legal fights. This will be set up so that it benefits the majority of firearm owners rather than individual organisations. We need hundreds of thousands of dollars for the litigation ahead and we need it from you, our community. It is so vitally important that we all come together on this and we all back each other through this process.    

A reminder that while your emotions are being tested, please be cautious  in what you do and what you say, especially on social media. Some comments are inviting the attention of police and media when rashly stating  they may take unlawful action.  The Amnesty has 6 months to run until 20 December, there is time to take what steps you deem necessary.

We are concerned that the first collection event in Christchurch on 13 July may become a media circus.  Attending this event could pose risks for both your emotional and physical wellbeing and by being identified potentially put your future security at risk.  You have 3 other options for handing in your firearms.

Many in our community are feeling stressed, first by the sudden new legislation, then by the loss of their hobby or sport and now by the confiscation of their property through no fault of their own and compensation falling short of being fair.  Look out for your mates and talk the issues through with friends who understand. It is important that we unite as one and that means backing each other up and being there to support friends and families. Utilise others in your community for help if you need to.

Please forward this to you shooting mates, clubs and associations.

Mike Dowling - COLFO Chairman

20th June 2019

The announcements have been released today.  Please find attached some useful pdf’s which can also be found on the Police website.

https://www.police.govt.nz/advice/firearms-and-safety/changes-firearms-law-prohibited-firearms#anchor7

Regulation regarding the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Regulations 2019

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2019/0136/latest/LMS214698.html

Regulation regarding the Arms (Prohibited Ammunition) Order 2019

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2019/0137/latest/LMS214860.html?search=ts_act%40bill%40regulation%40deemedreg_arms_resel_25_a&p=1

PDF's

Firearms Amnesty and Buy Back Customer Preparation

Amnesty Buy Back Operation

Prohibited Firearms and Parts Buy Back Price List