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Hawkins Needs To Return To The Drawing Board

The Minister of Police needs to tell New Zealand whether he will use a chance to shortcircuit democracy left open by a Select Committee Report, said ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks.

“The report unanimously panned the Arms Amendment Bill,” said Mr Franks.

“But Government MPs on the Committee desperately kept the Arms Amendment Bill alive, despite agreeing to slate it.”

“The Bill would be worse than useless in its current form. But by not discharging the Bill, the possibility has been left open that Minister of Police George Hawkins will tack on his preferred firearms regime then push it through without going back for fresh select committee scrutiny.

“The Committee calls on the Government to start again. It must take account of what has been learned from disastrous overseas experiments with registration, and pay attention to 6,000 sporting shooters who took the time to make submissions on the Bill.

“Mr Hawkins made clear his indifference to compelling evidence and his contempt for select committee hearings when he unilaterally announced through the media last year that he was going to press ahead with firearms registration anyway, despite overwhelming submissions opposing it.

“This Committee proves that hearings are not useless, and that parliamentary processes can correct Government.

“Mr Hawkins should quickly make sure the Committee’s constructive work with shooting sports people is not demolished by mistrust of his intentions.

“I call on him to make it clear that he accepts the report and will go back to the drawing board – this time, with an open mind,” said Stephen Franks.

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