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Voting Guide: Our advice to licensed firearms owners this election

By Michael Dowling, COLFO

Just recently, we held our National Firearms Debate in Masterton. As we had hoped, was a mix of tough questions, debate, fun.


If you didn't watch it live, you can replay it via our Facebook, and YouTube sites. And today we are releasing our How to Vote Guide:


We've prepared a detailed table of the political parties' firearms policies here.


We've also summarised our advice below.



This election, COLFO urges voters who want to protect or affect shooting sports rights, to be bluntly realistic with their party votes. Don’t vote for any party that has been hostile to our rights. Do vote for parties that have shown they stand with us. How they’ve voted in Parliament is critical. What they say they intend for the future is less relevant.


But something else is just as important. Will your vote put someone or keep someone in Parliament? If not, that vote is wasted. Completely. It may actually help hostile parties. If your preferred party is not reasonably sure to get over 5% of the party votes, don’t vote for it. They will not be in Parliament. Your vote will be useless.


For this election, it looks as if only ACT and National will be in Parliament, of the parties who respect our rights. Protest votes are hardly ever influential. In this election, do not throw your vote away.



It does not matter much for shooting sports rights which candidate gets your electorate or constituency member vote. Of course we'd hope that you did not support individuals who have been hostile. But for this election no constituency MP vote is likely to make the slightest difference to which party forms the government. And who governs is what matters above all, this time around.


You could use your electorate vote to say ‘thank you’ to candidates who have shown their respect for our rights. It will not affect which parties rule.



Do not give your party vote to the Greens or Labour. It would strengthen them.


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They’ve been painting licenced firearms owners as the real villains. A Labour-Green Government unhampered by NZ First could make the existing situation far worse.


A vote for NZ First is likely to be pointless now, even if you think they kept a brake on the worst that Labour and the Greens wanted to do to us. That is not a judgment on their policies. Simply that there appears to be no prospect of them making the 5% MMP threshold for returning to Parliament.


Giving your vote to any party unlikely to be in Parliament just means it is shared among the parties who are in Parliament, in rough proportions according to their party voting success.


In short, a vote for a party unlikely to be in Parliament may mean in effect that most of your vote is shared among Labour and the Greens, if they get the most votes. At the moment it appears that only ACT, National, the Greens and Labour are likely to be in Parliament.


“The brutal reality of the MMP 5% threshold means that for this election a shooting sports vote for New Conservative will be useless unless they get 5%. That looks unlikely on current polling.”


It is conceivable that the Maori Party will be there, off the back of success in a Maori Electorate. From our experience of trying to interest Maori electorate MPs in the risks of bad firearms law on Maori, there is no point wasting your party vote on the Maori Party, if you are concerned about good law in this area.


Unhappily we also have to caution you when considering a vote for New Conservative, despite them having firearms policy we can applaud. COLFO realises that this advice will be hurtful to some. We wish we could reward the New Conservative party policy, but a 'reward" vote that does not affect who is in Parliament is not a sensible vote.


The brutal reality of the MMP 5% threshold means that for this election a shooting sports vote for New Conservative will be useless unless they get 5%. That looks unlikely on current polling.



COLFO is politically non-aligned. That means we are not members of, or beholden to any political party. But nor can we be politically neutral. We have to urge you to vote for the parties that will have practical power in Parliament to value, protect and advance the rights and interests of our members and supporters.


COLFO hopes that we will be able to encourage voting support for more parties in the next election.


But we can't wish success for political parties and politicians who are hostile to our rights and interests. And part of our role is to make sure you know which party is in which category.


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That does not mean we refuse to engage with hostile parties. We will help them understand unintended consequences to minimise the damage they might do. But for an organisation like COLFO, set up to guard legislated rights, election time is when we need to steer votes to where they will do most good, and avoid most bad.


“...we can't wish success for political parties and politicians who are hostile to our rights and interests. And part of our role is to make sure you know which party is in which category.”


So our voting guide has to be ruthlessly realistic. At each election, COLFO will not beat about the bush. We will tell you how we think you can have the most influence with your vote. Election time is the only time most of us get to tell politicians what to do, decide who will exercise power over us, and how they treat us.


If you want to understand more about the individual firearm policies of every party contesting this election see our how to vote guide by clicking here.


Repeated studies show that most New Zealanders still struggle to understand the details of how MMP works. If your interested, there is a good summary on our website.


So let's stick together this election, and make sure the voice of licenced firearms owners is heard.


Thank you for your support.


Michael Dowling


Council of Licenced Firearms Owners

(on behalf of the Fair and Reasonable Campaign)


Keep up with Fair and Reasonable on Facebook.


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