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Police Trash Basic Rule of Law Principle

FRIDAY 29 NOVEMBER 2019

A Police announcement today of an exemption for firearm owners stuck in a long queue for Police approval omits to mention a serious change in the rules for compensation.

Thousands of owners have applied for exemptions to hold prohibited firearms for pest control, for licenses to continue as antique collectors and other exemptions provided for in the law. They now get up to 30 days to apply for compensation if their special category applications are turned down.

But new regulation 28LA lets the Commissioner unilaterally decide not to compensate fully for more than the quantity of parts and magazines that ‘the Commissioner considers appropriate for the reasonable personal use of the person’.

The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) spokesperson Nicole McKee says that a change not mentioned by the Police is sinister.

“It should worry all New Zealanders, particularly people with larger than average farms or houses, or with more than “enough” of anything.”

“Collectors are enthusiasts. They often have more parts than the rest of us consider necessary for personal use.”

The regulation reneges on the key reassurance from the government, reiterated this month by the Prime Minister in talking to US entertainer Stephen Colbert, that people would get fair compensation.

Nicole McKee says the right to compensation for property confiscated by the government was inherited with the Treaty. That is the basis of the last 30 years of Treaty settlements. It was included in laws like Public Works Act, and the Arms Act before it was changed earlier this year.

“But those rights are excluded for this confiscation. The new regulation effectively means that if you hand in more bits than the Police think you needed, you don’t deserve normal rights. They’ll just seize your excess and the market value is irrelevant. They might give you your cost price, if you can prove what it was.”

“Some magazines cost over $200 each. Many have heritage value, and of course inflation has made the cost price irrelevant, even if you can show what it was.

“How many people can prove the price they paid for much loved items bought many years ago?”

McKee said the arrogance of this change is inexcusable. With only a month from the end of the amnesty, the government is still trying to clarify key provisions without consulting with the community.

“But they’ve decided they don’t mind trashing rule of law principles, whether it is warrantless entry, privacy, extraordinary Police powers, and compensation principles, because it’s being done to sports shooting people.

ENDS

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