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

I hope you have all 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 mark the end of the Government’s failed buyback, we hosted a media conference at Parliament with ACT’s leader David Seymour. 

COLFO media conference at Parliament

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 are 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 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.