Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Stuart Nash: Second Reading Arms Amendment Bill

Mr Speaker, it is Day 25 of the largest criminal investigation in New Zealand history.

Not a day, or a moment, has been wasted as we respond to the atrocity that is testing us all.

That is true also of the Select Committee.

I particularly acknowledge the members of the Committee who met under great time pressure to help speed this legislation through Parliament.

I thank the chair Michael Wood and I thank the other MPs who have all played their part.

I thank the 13 thousand or so who made submissions, and the tens of thousands of others who participated in this process by signing online petitions.

I thank the expert Police advisors and officials.

I thank the teams of public servants and policy analysts from multiple government agencies who assisted.

At least ninety extra people were drafted in to work late at night and through the weekend to consider, analyse and report on the submissions.

But perhaps the biggest debt of all is owed to the families and friends of those who fell at the mosques.

They came to Parliament to speak for those who could not.

Their bravery and dignity, their grief and their despair carry meaning that no paper submission or petition can convey.

Their eloquence and compelling truths gave weight to the memory of those we have lost.

There is one more submission I wish to single out, and in doing so I mean no disrespect to the others.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons took us to a very confronting place.

The family and friends of those who died gave us their memories.

The surgeons gave us the bodily presence of those who survived.

Mr Speaker, specialist James McKay saw 48 terribly injured men, women and children arrive in less than an hour in the Canterbury Hospital Emergency Department.

At the Select Committee, his description of the injuries to their chests, lungs and abdomens, their skin and tissue and bone was, quite simply, horrifying.

Four hundred years ago The Merchant of Venice also confronted the effects of religious and cultural intolerance, for another group.

If I could paraphrase for a moment Mr Speaker.

Do we not have the same hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions;

fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?

If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?

Mr Speaker, we are hurt with weapons.

Unlike that speech, we are not seeking revenge.

We are seeking safety.

We have to stop this happening again.

There is an A to W list of government agencies wrapping around the survivors and the bereaved, from ACC to Work and Income.

We have a responsibility too, here in this Chamber.

This Parliament is acting, near-unanimously, to take these firearms and associated parts out of circulation.

They cause deadly harm. They are designed to kill quickly and at scale.

There is no good reason to have them outside extremely tightly defined circumstances.

Exemptions – wild animal and pest control

Mr Speaker firearms are an important tool to help prevent damage to the environment.

There is an exemption in the bill for legitimate users to have access to prohibited firearms – semi automatics - for the sole purpose of pest eradication.

These commercial operators will need to demonstrate a genuine need for the firearm and that they cannot do the job with another type of weapon.

Rural Women NZ made a strong case that there is no need for assault rifles and military style semi-automatics on farms.

The Committee heard a range of views about the place of semi-automatics on farms and large landholdings.

Members of the committee believed that the exemption for commercial wild animal control or animal pest control businesses should be kept narrow.

The exemption does allow commercial businesses specialising in pest control to use a prohibited item for such purposes on private land or non-conservation land.

This will allow private land owners to engage a legitimate pest control business to assist in protecting our environment.

I am aware that there are some in the community who believe this does not go far enough.

The fact is Mr Speaker we must ensure that we do not create gaping loopholes that can be exploited. The right balance must be struck and I believe this provision does just that.

Other exemptions

Mr Speaker the select committee has made a number of recommendations which I believe should be included in the Bill.

Earlier I spoke of the need to ensure that we get the balance right between protecting our communities and allowing the tools to effectively protect our environment.

The select committee has given extensive consideration to the conditions placed upon a bona fide collectors.

Currently collectors must remove a key component of a firearm, rendering it inoperable.

The committee has recommended that the bill is amended to prescribe further precautions that must be taken to prevent the theft or misuse of these vital parts.

The committee has also recommended the ability for people to apply for an endorsement on their licence to keep a prohibited firearm if that item is an heirloom or memento.

This will hopefully reduce the risk of people continuing to unlawfully possess a prohibited firearm.

The Committee has agreed with the Government that there is no need for an exemption for sporting competitors or competitions.

No-one competing in shooting disciplines at the Olympic or Commonwealth Games will be affected by this Bill.

In addition, people who compete in the 3-gun discipline will continue to be able to compete using a .22 or lower calibre semi-automatic.

This Bill strikes the right balance.

Process

Mr Speaker, before concluding I want to briefly touch on the process.

In addition to the 13,000 submissions referred to in the Committee’s report, there were petitions signed by thousands of others.

For comparison, the comprehensive Thorp Inquiry more than twenty years ago considered just under three-thousand submissions.

Simon Mount QC, who was special counsel advising the Thorp Inquiry in 1997, has supported this process.

He made a submission stating:

“There are exceptional circumstances that require swift action, and this is one.

The arguments for immediate action seem compelling…the Committee will be well aware of the main arguments for and against.”

Conclusion

Mr Speaker, the survivors and the bereaved have a lifetime of physical and emotional trauma ahead.

For them, day 25 will blur into day 26 and day 27 and every day will be a struggle.

We have the responsibility to make every moment count.

That is why Mr Speaker, I commend this Bill to the house.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Todd Muller Needs To Own The Privacy Leak Scandal


Whenever a political scandal breaks, party leaders have two basic options. They can confess to being in boots and all, and try to brazen it out : nothing to see here, move on. This tended to be the John Key approach. Very hard to pull that off in this case, given that it involved violating the privacy of sick New Zealanders for party political gain.
The other option is to claim innocence of this terrible, no good, highly regrettable “error of judgement” and apologise profusely for the sins of others, while absolving your own good self of any responsibility. This has been Todd Muller’s chosen path.... More>>
 

Govt: Statement From Rt Hon Winston Peters

Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters has announced he is taking a short stint of medical leave this week. More>>


Isolation: Government And Air NZ Agree To Manage Incoming Bookings

Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: New Investment Creates Over 2000 Jobs To Clean Up Waterways

A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: David Clark Resigns As Health Minister

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted David Clark’s resignation as Health Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Green Party Unveils Income Policy

The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity. The scheme resets income support payments to ensure everyone not in full-time paid work gets at least ... More>>

ALSO:


Conservation: New Protection For Dolphins

Extensive new protections are being put in place as part of an updated plan to look after New Zealand’s native Hector’s and Māui dolphins, announced Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash and Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: Water Consent Referred To Board Of Inquiry

Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses... More>>

ALSO:




Covid-19 Patient Info Leak: Hamish Walker - A Personal Statement And An Apology

I have spoken to National Party Leader Todd Muller and informed him that I passed to members of the media, by email, information containing Covid-19 patient details that was given to me by a source. I did this to expose the Government’s shortcomings ... More>>

ALSO:

PM: Labour Will Extend Loan Scheme 'lifeline' For Small Business

Labour has announced its plans to extend the Small Business Loan Cashflow Scheme and spend $162 million on a waterway clean-up package. More>>

ALSO:


Biosecurity: Winston Peters On EU Travel: 'We're Not Going To Compromise Our Country's Health'

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says New Zealanders who head to Europe on holiday should pay for their two weeks' hotel quarantine when they return. More>>

Economy: Infrastructure Investment To Create Jobs, Kick-Start COVID Rebuild

A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister ... More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19: Isolation System To Be Beefed Up After Stress

A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify ... More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Parties Get Into Gear

ACT has today announced its list for the 2020 General Election. “The calibre and experience of our candidates will impress voters of every persuasion. We have candidates from all walks of life. People who have built their homes, families and businesses ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels