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Submission - Arms Legislation Bill

In wake of the recent Christchurch tragedy the Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom absolutely agrees that the current Arms Act of 1983 needs to be revisited but would like to submit that this a knee jerk reaction to a problem that should have been addressed many years ago.

We believe the Arms Legislation Bill has been written in haste and we do not believe that the content of the legislation enacted in its current state will make Aotearoa a safer place.

The Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom is concerned that there is a rush to change firearms legislation and the need to be seen as doing something without due consultation. It is a shortcutting of New Zealand’s democratic process which will indirectly put our immediate whanau and our whanau outside of the Waikato region at a higher risk than any other New Zealand community, because of poorly written, thought-out legislation, which will have mistakes, errors and omissions.

Many Maori do not understand the content of this legislation and they will continue to be a stick to beat which essentially will see Maori being the prime targets of, particularly our gang communities, this legislation. Albeit to say this legislation is racist in its intent.

The Legislation also distracts from the real issue surrounding the enactment of new gun laws. The period after a mass shooting is often very telling. When the shooter is white, the context is the individual narrative – this individual disordered white mind. When the shooter is brown, all of a sudden, the disorder is culture. The narrative we tell then is about terrorism or gangs. People say that if we get rid of guns, mass shootings will decrease. But guns aren’t the problem. People are the problem. “Guns don’t kill its people that kill people”.

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It is our contention that the targeted focus of this bill has turned from the white single disaffected perpetrator of the Christchurch Massacre to the non-white community. We would also like to highlight that of all historical shooting massacres in New Zealand all but one have been white perpetrators, of the approximately 17 police officers shot dead in the line of duty, the majority of them were killed my white offenders, and in fact within the Waikato region the greater percentage of prosecutions related to firearms offences fell on the shoulders of white offenders.

Of particular concern are the following

1) The setting up of Armed Response Teams (ARTs) and having fully armed police personnel patrolling predominantly high crime areas which statistics will prove are inhabited by people of colour, in particular Maori and Pasifika and their families, in other words ‘racial profiling’. Of further concern, which has been highlighted recently the ARTs have not only been deployed as a response to high end crime but now have a mandate to act in the manner of a normal police street patrol. The ARTs were never designed for this purpose.

The Mongrel Mob Kingdom is of the opinion that people of colour will be the primary focus and target of the ARTs and that interaction with them may result or could result in further target aggrevation and the possible use of deadly force.

The Police Commissioner Mike Bush stated publicly on 7 November 2019 that a bias towards Maori is known to exist in policing, a concern they intend to address. It must also be highlighted the large number of Maori and Pacifica complaints to the so-called Independent Police Conduct Authority many of the complaints made by Maori and Pacifica Peoples relate to the alleged biased conduct of police.

The Kingdom knows that the ART personnel have been drawn from the Armed Offenders Squad, which is not a stand-alone unit, with members being drawn from other working sections of a police station. Therefore, we believe the training of AOS members falls way short of providing arms and negotiation skills of a quality that would ensure the safety of our communities when dealing with the new ARTs, particularly in terms of racial bias training.

The Kingdom would like to highlight the hypocrisy of the use surrounding the use of MSSAs in Aotearoa New Zealand in a recent media release the President of the Police Association Mr Chris Cahill was quoted as saying there was no need for MSSAs in NZ and that they are designed for one thing only and that’s to kill people, therefore we would like to submit that there is no need for our police personnel to be armed with such weapons. What can an MSSA do that cannot be achieved with a single fire bolt-action high-powered rifle? It is our contention that it is because MSSAs can deliver maximum fire power in a very short space of time.

Given the statistics that we pointed out earlier in relation to the shooting of Maori and Pasifika by Police one could reasonably infer that MSSAs in the hands of poorly trained police could tragically involve the families of their intended target, including children.

2) On 11 November 2019 a consultation document was introduced by the Police to gather submissions on the introduction of Firearms Prohibition Orders, this discussion will end on 13 January 2020.

The Mongrel Mob Kingdom submits that these orders will impinge on the customary Maori rights as protected under The Declaration of Independence of New Zealand 1835, Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840, Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993, and the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights. These four documents allow for Maori to gather as an iwi, hapu or whanau at any given time and place. More often than not these places will be at the homes or homes of close relatives of Maori under and FPO and may place the said person in the environs of a family member who has a legitimate firearms license and proper security for his or her firearms, excluding a person under an FPO from engaging with his or her whanau or extended whanau is a blatant breach of Maori customary rights and indeed human rights.

We are concerned that the time frames that the authorities may use to invoke an FPO are far too wide and may mean a person becomes prohibited by being involved in a crime that is decades old.

We believe there must be statue of limitation used if such orders are brought into force again, we contend this is a huge breach of human rights.

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