COLFO Update: NZ First still on the fence re Arms Legislation BillBy Nicole McKee, COLFO
- 14th Jun, 2020 Jun 14, 2020, 2:56 PM
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So the Arms Legislation Bill is going back before Parliament before it rises for the election campaign - and it looks like NZ First may be about to let us down.
This is our reading of this morning’s Radio NZ interview with Defence Minister Ron Mark. He warned against about the Police arming themselves with assault weapons. Things are building to a decision point.
The Ardern government has been paralysed on firearms law since the obvious failure of the buy-back. The Government was not helped when New Zealanders learned about the gross Police over-reach in arming themselves (without any democratic mandate from New Zealanders) at the same time as we all saw the Government give Police their anti-shooting sports policy wishlist.
Here at COLFO we’ve been waiting to see how the internal government deadlock would resolve. We hoped that the Bill would stay stalled until the election. We still can’t be sure, but the timing of Ron Mark’s well-informed criticism gives hope that some things are still hanging in the balance.
“Of course, the public has not been disarmed - the criminals will continue to be better armed and ignore the law - it is only law abiding citizens like you and me who have been disarmed. Ron Mark well knows that. He is clearly snookering them.”
Our Defence Minister is the right person to warn about what he called the “creeping militarisation” of our Police. His comment was very shrewd. He told Corin Dann “[Given] that we have just confiscated all the semi-automatics across New Zealand… Police are inappropriately armed against a reduced threat of a disarmed public”.
Of course, the public has not been disarmed - the criminals will continue to be better armed and ignore the law - it is only law abiding citizens like you and me who have been disarmed. Ron Mark well knows that. He is clearly snookering them.
The Police can hardly now rebut his criticism, it would only be a confession that they have not been honest with the facts all along, and that they knew the confiscation and law changes would do nothing for the safety of the Police, or the public. The Police arming themselves is instead a claim that they think New Zealand is more dangerous.
Ron Mark’s statements show that the Bill will be debated very soon. Any improvements, or reduction in mistakes and own goals for the Police will have to be by Supplementary Order Paper. NZ First have the power. They talked big at election time about their support for rural and sports people. Now they can deliver. But they may not.
We want to see them protect the status quo for clubs and ranges. We want them to strengthen the licensing system, and hand over administration of arms law to a new civilian authority - rather than having the Police both make and enforce the law.
“The Police can hardly now rebut his criticism, it would only be a confession that they have not been honest with the facts all along ... The Police arming themselves is instead a claim that they think New Zealand is more dangerous.”
More now than ever, the taxpayer cannot afford to pay millions for register provisions, when registration has not delivered on the promise in any country, to date, and expensively criminalise the remaining law abiding owners. They should fix the existing “registration” system, making it efficient and accurate for the very limited categories that should be registered.
NZ First has the power to make all those reforms happen. Will they use it? Or just offer excuses? Of course it is a travesty that they are even letting the Bill proceed before the Royal Commission has reported. But getting past that, please get in touch with your MPs, politely but firmly letting them know that you are watching.
Tell them you expect them to use their power and privilege to protect and support our rights and freedoms, not the PM’s need to grandstand for the world’s woke.
New Zealand’s low armed crime rates, and historical reliance on licensing plus freedom, have been internationally respected, and a problem for arms zealots on both sides. After our PM decided to pander to her side’s zealots, NZ First could have retrieved our inheritance.
NZ First knows what should be done. Let them know that if they fudge this, we’ll know, even if the media won’t.
Tell them we won’t be fobbed off. We’ll understand the detail, and we’ll know if they have given it all away for a few headline cosmetic changes.
You can find the contact details (emails and office phone numbers) for NZ First MPs here.
We’ll be doing what we can in Wellington - but for people power to work, we need as many as possible to now speak up.
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