“The Government’s proposed regulations for shooting clubs and ranges will create administrative nightmares for law-abiding firearms owners while gangs run riot across New Zealand,” says ACT’s Firearms Law Reform spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“Ranges are largely run by volunteers to provide a safe space for people to learn and carry out safe firearms practice. These regulations will add so many unnecessary compliance measures and fees to clubs and ranges it will force many to close. The costs for certification alone could reach up to $830 per club and will only make it tougher for small clubs to continue operating safely. Even the use of a farmer’s paddock will cost hundreds of dollars in certification fees.

“The regulations are a result of the Arms Legislation Act that was rushed through Parliament in June 2020. ACT was the only Party in Parliament to stand up for firearms owners and vote against the Bill then, and we will continue to stand up for firearms owners now.

“Hunting and shooting clubs have long led the way in the promotion of safe firearms handling. Instead of ensuring more licensed firearms owners shoot with the supervision and support of a club, these changes will mean some existing clubs may disband as volunteer members are unable or afraid to meet this new regulatory burden. These regulations ignore where New Zealand’s firearms safety culture began.

“Considering the Police haven’t been able to process thousands of firearms licenses in time for hunting season for the second year in a row, it’s hard to imagine they’ll be able to process the many applications that will result from this process either.

“ACT wants to prevent the demise of what was once lauded as the best firearms system in the world. We want people to have the ability to safely use firearms and access to clubs and ranges is a vital part of that.

“We encourage people to submit their thoughts and stand up for their clubs and ranges before consultation closes on 4 May.”