The Government appears to have hidden the fact that it deregulated New Zealand’s gun laws late last year, says ACT Leader David Seymour.
Last December, eight days before Christmas, the Prime Minister made a regulation that allowed electronic applications for dealer’s licences, licences for gun shows, and permits to import and procure guns – including military-style semi-automatic weapons.
“There appears to be no press statement covering this move on the Scoop, Police, or Beehive websites. Where did the Government announce these changes?
“The purpose of the regulation was to save Police time. In reality, it removed a vital point of contact between Police and dealers and gun owners.
“The Government blatantly neglected the fact that an important part of the licencing and permitting process is face-to-face contact with Police.
“Personal contact between Police and dealers and gun owners is critical to identifying any potential issues that government agencies should be aware of.
“It is astounding that the Government thought this regulation – made at the stroke of a pen with the Prime Minister in attendance – was a good idea.
“Now the Government is abandoning any sincere attempt at public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny of our laws in changing the Arms Act.
“The Government that has a working group for everything is all over the show on gun laws. It is taking a truly incoherent approach to our firearms legislation.
“I believe our gun laws must change, and I support changing them with proper public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny
“However, good intentions and rushed legislation do not guarantee good and lasting outcomes. There is very real danger that in a rush we will make bad law with unexpected outcomes and loopholes.
“If gun legislation is important, it is important to get right.”