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Deerstalkers Association Opposes Arms Legislation Bill

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New Zealand Deerstalkers Association Opposes Arms Legislation Bill

New Zealand, Thursday 24 October 2019 - The New Zealand Deerstalkers Association (NZDA) appeared before Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Select Committee yesterday on behalf of it’s 8,000 members to submit on the proposed Arms Legislation Bill.

Those submitting on the bill included Fish and Game, Federated Farmers, Hunting and Fishing, the New Zealand Deerstalkers' Association, and the Game Animal Council, reasoning that a register of firearms and the regime of registration would be costly, inaccurate, and ineffective.

Sharon Salmons, secretary for the Southern Lakes branch of the NZDA, representing members and volunteers at NZDA, argued that the bill as it stands fails to take into account the social, health, cultural, economic and conservation benefits that come from hunting and responsible firearms use.

“To be able to forage in our great outdoors and provide food for our family is a very rewarding process and it’s part of our Kiwi DNA. We feel that this bill fails to recognise or even acknowledge these values. This bill does nothing to encourage people into the outdoors, or hunting activities, or acknowledge the benefits that these activities provide.”

“We are not just hunters, we are conservationists, world-class Olympic shooting champions, pest controllers, volunteers for DOC, as well as being part of search and rescue efforts. Volunteers from our organisation donate hours and hours of their time to run safety courses and training, including safe firearm handling. The proposal for this bill as it stands, fails to recognise, and aims to make it more difficult and financially harder to run those training courses, which are run at no cost and benefit the general public,” says Sharon Salmons, NZDA.

Co-speaker Gwyn Thurlow said that it the bill as it stands undermines fundamental rights enjoyed by New Zealanders.

“This bill discriminates against licenced firearms owners, which will directly impact our members. We want to make the Select Committee aware that many sections contravene long-standing rights and legal principles, including those set out in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990,” says Gwyn Thurlow, NZDA.

NZDA Vice President Geoff Feasey says that although our members have always supported responsible firearms safety, he says we cannot support the bill as it currently stands.

“Although we support responsible firearm ownership, we are concerned about the impact that the new proposed arms legislation would have on law abiding firearm users, and specifically our members. Our main concerns lie in reducing the gun licence period from 10 to 5 years and onerous and unworkable restrictions on target shooting, clubs and ranges.”

“Hunting is part of the Kiwi way of life, we are responsible members of society, providing a public good with conservation work and maintenance of huts and tracks. We train hunters, provide firearm safety instruction and instill ethics. We need sensible and effective laws which treat firearm owners fairly,” says NZDA Vice President Geoff Feasey.

The New Zealand Deerstalkers Association’s submission on the Arms Legislation Bill is available here.

The New Zealand Deerstalkers Association (NZDA) is the national body for hunters and rifle shooters across New Zealand. Founded in 1938, the NZDA has 49 active branches and 8,000 members across New Zealand. The NZDA’s fundamental aim is to protect and enhance the sport of recreational hunting and its associated disciplines. Acting as the voice of hunters throughout the country, the NZDA comments on issues ranging from gun safety, trophy hunting, pest control and the natural environment.

https://www.deerstalkers.org.nz/

ENDS.

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