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COLFO Newsletter Jan 2020

By Phil Cregeen, COLFO

Fair and Reasonable Campaign - Update on Court Challenge

 

COLFO has now received the Governments statement of defence to our application for judicial review of Stuart Nash’s regulations preventing fair compensation for now prohibited ammunition. We now await the High Court to allocate a hearing date. Meanwhile we continue to work at gathering evidence and assembling a number of expert witnesses.

 

Our lawyers are working on a second claim which has wider implications than just ammo. You can follow the progress of the legal action on our website:

 

www.fairandreasonable.co.nz

 

CONFISCATION AND AMNESTY A FAILURE

Contrary to statements made by the Police and their Minister Stuart Nash, COLFO believes the whole process has been a total failure. With 56,250 firearms collected we estimate there is still 100,000 now prohibited firearms remaining in the community, many likely to disappear into the grey/black market.

 

We know that only 63% of E Cat MSSAs have been collected. These now illegal guns can no longer be securely stored but must remain hidden; making New Zealand less safe than it was prior to March 2019.

 

To highlight this failure COLFO hosted a press conference with ACT leader David Seymour at Parliament which gained extensive coverage in the mainstream media. 

  

“Contrary to statements made by the Police and their Minister Stuart Nash, COLFO believes the whole process has been a total failure.

 

ARMS LEGISLATION BILL 2019 AND SOP 408

It is expected that the Select Committee will table their report on this Bill shortly after Parliament returns to business on 11 February. It is vital that all members keep up the pressure on their MPs to vote against this Bill if it is to be defeated. We know this pressure is working because there have already been some minor reversals by the government

 

Remember SOP 408 introduced additional restrictions on ownership of pistols. 

 

With the stated intention of the Prime Minister to pass this legislation before the anniversary of the Christchurch attack there is only a short time left to influence MPs. Tell your local MP you will not be voting for them if they support this Bill.

 

Although we have not verified the figures we are advised that of 4,210 submissions on this Bill, 84.6% totally rejected it and another 5.9 % partially rejected it, with only 5.8% in support. It will be interesting to see what our MPs make of this.

 

INCREASE IN LICENCE AND OTHER FEES EXPECTED

It is anticipated that the Minister of Police will soon release a discussion document on new fees to be applied to firearm administration. With the current licence fee covering less than half the cost, police claim, and the new laws quadrupling the police work load, the fee hikes are likely to be substantial.

 

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It is again important that you all make your views known, bearing in mind that the law changes are, according to the government, all about public safety. Then it is only right that the public (Crown) should pay, not firearm owners who don’t want these changes.

 

AUDITOR-GENERAL AUDIT OF THE FIREARM BUY-BACK SCHEME

Last year the office of the Auditor General announced that it would conduct an audit of the firearm buy-back scheme. The Auditor General is independent of Government and is tasked with reviewing how public organisations perform.  COLFO provided information to this inquiry; we understand a report will be released early this year.

 

DATA BREACH: COLFO COMPLAINT TO THE PRIVACY COMMISSIONER

Before Christmas, we wrote to the Privacy Commissioner concerning the Police data breach, requesting that he provide updated advice to the Select Committee on the Arms Legislation Bill in light of this security failure. To our surprise the Commissioner declined.

 

However the Commissioners response revealed that the Police have now hired a security expert. This will open new lines of enquiry under the Official Information Act for us to find out what advice Police are receiving in order to keep our information secure.

 

DATA BREACH - WHO IS REALLY RESPONSIBLE

Police and Nash couldn’t form a queue fast enough to denying any responsibility for the data breach blaming it instead on the software developer although for the original error to have made it all the way to the live system requires a series of failures in the process including the omission altogether (or it not being done properly), of a thing called user (in this case Police) acceptance testing.

 

“...Nash - the top of the food chain in this case - refused to accept any responsibility and made no secret of his refusal.

 

The Institute of Directors say cyber risk is like any other risk and requires board level attention i.e. the top of the food chain. Yet Nash - the top of the food chain in this case - refused to accept any responsibility and made no secret of his refusal. All parties also kept very quiet about the risk of identity theft - a worldwide and growing problem - to those whose data was exposed.

 

FIREARM PROHIBITION ORDERS

COLFO has provided a comprehensive submission on the Police discussion document, pointing out how ill-conceived many of the proposals are and how they will do little to deter criminals gaining access to firearms.

 

POLICE RAIDS 

From the aggressive rhetoric of Police Minister Stuart Nash and Deputy Commissioner Mike Clements many LFOs have been anticipating Police to raid their homes in search of now prohibited firearms.

 

In early January a young family sitting down to their evening meal were raided by 12 armed police officers, searching for an unmodified lever action .22 rifle. LFO Dieuwe De Boer had used a photos of the said rifle in his submission to the Select Committee to point out the unintended consequences of the law change. The Police did not find the rifle. 

 

Was the raid motivated by politics?  The media labelled him ‘Extreme Alt Right’ because he has been vocal on free speech issues. These type of raids only serve to drive a further rift between LFOs and Police.

 

POLICE FACIAL RECOGNITION SYSTEM - PRISONERS, REGISTERED CHILD SEX OFFENDERS - AND LFOS

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Evidence yet again of the calculated government and police on-going tarnishing of LFOs and the low regard in which LFOs are held is apparent in the proposed inclusion of the faces of LFOs in the police "state of the art" facial recognition system - along with prisoners and registered child sex offenders. 

 

This effectively means LFOs are being treated as if we have a lesser right to privacy than that of other law-abiding New Zealanders merely because we have a firearms’ licence. 

 

Holding a drivers licence with your picture on clearly does not put you in the ‘lesser rights’ category but a firearms' licence does. The only other group planned to be included are missing persons.

 

“This effectively means LFOs are being treated as if we have a lesser right to privacy than that of other law-abiding New Zealanders merely because we have a firearms’ licence. 

 

According to Stuff Dataworks Plus are building the system and it is to be rolled out in the latter half of 2020.

 

Police use of facial recognition technologies has the potential to breach both the NZ Bill of Rights Act and the Privacy Act.

 

If you find this objectionable then raise it with your MPs. Also write to Police and ask what information they hold on you, for what purposes is it currently used and are those purposes expected to change in the next 18 months. You will need to repeat this after the system goes live.

 

The Privacy Commissioner advised one of our members that if you have evidence Police have used the photo on your firearms licence for something other than issuing that licence you can make a complaint to their Office to look into. The more complaints the better - our voices need to be heard.

 

Phil Cregeen

SSANZ Sec.

COLFO Rep.

 

COLFO MEMBERSHIP

The Council of Licenced Firearm Owners works to protect your rights & priviliges.

 

For only $23 you can become an individual supporter of COLFO:

 

www.colfo.org.nz

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