Wednesday, 30 October 2019

NZ First absent from firearms committee: Is it about to pull the pin?

“The Finance and Expenditure Committee heard a simple and sensible chorus from submitters on the Arms Legislation Bill this morning: wait for the Royal Commission to report back, then make law”, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“New Zealand First have nine MPs, none of whom have to represent an electorate, but none showed up. We wonder if they are preparing to pull the pin on the firearms legislation and make the Government wait for the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch terror attack.

“Submitters were almost uniform in their call for Parliament to wait for the findings of the Royal Commission. They made a very sensible observation: the Royal Commission may well show this legislation has not solved the problem.

“Calls for Parliament to wait for the Royal Commission before passing a law come after last week’s submission from the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand speculated that the real problem was that Police illegally granted the alleged Christchurch terrorist a firearms licence.

“If true, this legislation will not have solved the problem, but will have placed significant costs on the firearms community. That is not to mention other parts of the legislation such as regulating clubs that may, perversely, make us less safe.

“Submitters urged the committee to consider that the proposed regulations for clubs would cause them to fold, driving activity underground. They raised the prospect that a gun register, if leaked, would become a steal-to-order list for criminals, and that people would forego medical treatment if they thought their affairs could be reported by medical professionals to Police under the Bill’s provisions. One submitter described how he’d already faced this dilemma.

“The Government, and in particular its coalition partner, has to make a call. None of New Zealand First’s nine MPs were present at the Committee. Perhaps they are ready to pull the pin?”