COLFO Media release
The Council of Licensed Firearm Owners (COLFO) has today rallied its members to make submissions against excessive fees proposed by Police that will put public safety at risk.
COLFO says the huge expense of the new fees will start the long-term decline of firearm ownership and use in New Zealand, leaving the nation vulnerable to pests and without humane animal disposal, removing a means of food gathering, removing a sport in which New Zealand excels, destroying a hobby and a significant part of the screen industry, and removing historic artifacts.
In a newly released consultation document, Police have announced their intention to charge firearm owners the full cost of all public-safety compliance and administrative activity. Day-to-day operation of the systems will be entirely paid for by firearms owners. The user-funded model will introduce new fees like $2,360 for a one-off inspection of a film production site. Existing fees will increase by as much as 2600%.
Council of Licensed Firearm Owners (COLFO) spokesperson Hugh Devereux-Mack says the consultation is the pointy end of a long line of expensive and arduous regulatory changes introduced by Police, which it now wants the people it regulates to pay full price for.
“The likely outcome will be that it’s too expensive to own a firearm for sport, for food, for pest control, for animal management on farms, for movie making, and to keep history alive.”
Under recent Government changes to the Arms Act, Police have proposed extensive regulatory changes to fees. Last June Police said the new systems were being introduced for the purpose of “providing a secure, easy-to-use system for gun owners.” It is worth remembering the changes are a result of Police administration being found wanting by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Mosque attacks.
“Police-led changes include extensive new paperwork and safety benchmarks required of clubs and ranges, a new online portal for license holders, various new permits and inspections required of museums, collectors, dealerships, and film sets, and the new firearms register,” says Devereux-Mack.
“But there is a massive cost to the public-safety compliance, and it is proposed that firearm owners pay for it all.
“Extensive administration and high wages for more keyboard-punchers mean the Police again turn to, and against, firearm owners.
“It shows that the licensed firearm owners NZ Police seem to hold in such dismal regard, are in fact the very foundation of a safe, well-functioning system, and have been entrusted by the public with general firearms safety for decades.”
“However, relying on the personal financial circumstances of Kiwis to uphold an expensive system concerning public safety creates the significant risk of worsening safety, not bettering it.”
“Police have proposed the standard firearms license fee increase by up to 400%. The mandatory firearms safety course will become a new additional cost to administrative fees.
“Police want to charge firearms dealerships for the full cost of all vetting, compliance and security assessments, legal assessment, and recording requirements, raising the fee from $204 a year to $2,570.
“Such large increases could risk cost-cutting activity from dealers in other areas, or non-compliance from licensed firearm owners. It could well drive firearms further underground, as expensive and complicated regulation force firearms, and licensed firearm owners, out of the public eye of gun shows and firearm ranges and into the grey market, where good people are made criminals.
“We need a system where a farmer can sell a firearm to a neighbour without paying expensive administrative fees and subjecting the trade to stacks of paperwork.
“We need a system where kids growing up around firearms are encouraged to go to a range and learn correct handling and safety.
“We need a system where your income is not a barrier to hunting for food for the family, picking up an Olympic sport, controlling pests on your property, showcasing war memorabilia, or producing an international-level film in New Zealand.
“The proposed fees, and the system it pays for, are not in the best interest of Kiwis, and will not make New Zealand safer.”
For further information contact: Hugh Devereux-Mack. 027 362 0853
Note to the editor: The Government awarded Police $208 million in funding over four years to establish the systems and the Firearms Branded Business Unit (FBBU) that oversees its operation, with $13m going to the Australian company developing the register.