COLFO Newsletter May 2020By Nicole McKee, COLFO
- 22nd May, 2020 May 22, 2020, 10:03 AM
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Fair and Reasonable Campaign - Update on Court Challenge
COLFO’s application for a judicial review of Stuart Nash’s regulations preventing fair compensation for now prohibited ammunition was heard in the High Court of Wellington on 4 & 5 May.
Due to Covid 19 restrictions public access to the court was severely limited, allowing only two journalists, Nicole Mckee and one member of our legal team to witness proceedings first hand, while a few more watched via video link. It is our impression that the hearing went well but it will likely be several months before the judge announces his decision.
COLFO has taken this High Court Judicial Review against the Government because if successful, we will have secured the common law principle that legally owned private property, once taken by government requires compensation. This is much bigger than just the confiscation of ammunition, this case will be precedent setting.
Our lawyers are still investigating a second claim which has wider implications than just ammo.
Should this be deemed viable we will let you know. You can follow the progress of the legal action on our website:
“COLFO has taken this High Court Judicial Review against the Government because if successful, we will have secured the common law principle that legally owned private property, once taken by government requires compensation.”
AUDITOR-GENERAL AUDIT OF THE FIREARM BUY-BACK SCHEME
The report released on the 7 May is a pretty damning report by the Auditor-General into the Government’s firearm buyback scheme. Here are the key takes:
- The cost for administering the system blew out from $18 million to $35 million. And the administration is not over yet. The funding shortfall was made up from the General Crime Prevention appropriation, the fund allocated to real crime.
- The scheme only collected about a quarter of the prohibited firearms that Police estimate were out there. As of February, 61,332 firearms and parts have been collected or modified, when Police estimate that there were up to 240,000 in the community
- That there were major deficiencies in how Police kept their records of e-endorsement firearms. This we knew already! We’ve had countless reports about poor Police record-keeping and it continues after confiscated arms have been handed in. The report finds that there are still 817 of these previously registered firearms unaccounted for where the Auditor General suggests one of the reasons would be “… issues with the accuracy … of the recorded information.”
- There is no assessment that this scheme will make us any safer. In fact the Auditor General says that ACC (who contributed funding to the buyback) will need to keep monitoring whether it has any impact on firearm related injury and deaths.
The key recommendation from the Report is that Police strengthen their engagement with firearm owners and dealers. Clearly the Auditor General can see that Police’s efforts to make out licensed firearm owners as criminals is damaging New Zealand. COLFO’s 2018 and 2019 trust and confidence survey already showed us the damage done.
There is one big disappointment in the report. The Auditor-General says that the SAP system was one of the ‘strengths of the system’. This is the same system that exposed hundreds of firearm owners addresses and bank accounts! We’ll continue to advocate on your behalf that the Government shouldn’t have such blatant disregard for firearm owners’ personal information.
“The key recommendation from the Report is that Police strengthen their engagement with firearm owners and dealers. Clearly the Auditor General can see that Police’s efforts to make out licensed firearm owners as criminals is damaging New Zealand. COLFO’s 2018 and 2019 trust and confidence survey already showed us the damage done.”
Overall, the Report clearly shows what we already know, that the Government’s proposed gun registry will be a colossal waste of time and money. This report certainly helps with our argument.
ARMS LEGISLATION BILL 2019 AND SOP 408 THE FINAL CUT
When Parliament resumed limited operation on 28 April, the Arms Legislation Bill was placed at No 9 on the order of business, at the time of writing (18 May) it had move up the list to No 8.
Meanwhile COLFO has continued lobbying on your behalf and acknowledge those that have supported by e-mailing your local MP. Between now and the final reading of the Arms legislation Bill we need to make sure that the MPs know our position has not changed.
PROPOSED INCREASE IN LICENCE AND OTHER FEES
There has been no new developments on this through the Covid 19 lockdown. However police have made it clear that it is coming. COLFO has successfully lobbied for an extension of firearm and dealer licences that expire during the Covid 19 alert period along with maintaining current licence application fees for those affected.
ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY REPORT
The Government has extend the inquiry deadline to 31 July 2020, allowing for delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID 19 AND SHOOTING SPORTS
COLFO along with other shooting organisations played a part in convincing Ministers to allow limited hunting opportunities under Covid Alert Level 3. This has since been expanded to include DOC land under Alert level 2. Shooting on ranges is constrained by Alert Level 2 social distancing and limits on the number of people who may congregate together.
The Council of Licenced Firearm Owners works to protect your rights & priviliges.
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