Government’s Firearm Law Handling Labelled “Disastrous"
An opinion article on the website of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) has labelled government handling of a firearm law bill rushed through following the Christchurch mosque terrorist attack allegedly by an Australian gunman as clumsy, disastrous and a cynically undemocratic way by government”.
"Apart from the firearm issue was the totally dictatorial way in which the bill was forced through. The whole process was so “rushed” it defies credibility and lays waste the government’s integrity,” said the article by Teddy Roostervelt.
There were 13,000 submissions and a select committee considered those in just three days.
"It was totally undemocratic. NZ First should have put the brakes on the runaway bullet train and demanded that proper, democratic select committee process be adhered to. But it failed to do so. So much for Peters – reputedly a keen duck shooter and the likes of Ron Mark who has been a hunter and a firearm collector and others in the party, who could forget Shane Jone’s holiday snaps from Thailand posing with an AR15 just days after his boss banned them"
However the critic did not let National off the hook.
"Inexcusably, National went along with it, totally failing to perceive the anti-democratic measures and means. National MP Judith Collins in a select committee hearing berated a verbal submitter when her duty was to listen, not deliver tirades,” he wrote.
The only person to emerge with credit was ACT MP David Seymour who took a principled stand against the rushed law.
The article pointed out that Police Minister and Napier MP Stuart Nashhad seen in his electorate, gang membership in Hawkes Bay soar by between 30 – 35 percent in the last two years. "Instead of tackling rampant drug fuelled gang crime Nash and Adern have made criminals out of law abiding firearm owners rather than dealing with escalating gang growth."
The Hawkes Bay public were justifiably angry as shown by a recent packed meeting that demanded MP Nash do something worthwhile to halt the gang explosion. In Taradale village, within Napier city, about 35 gang members fought in a brawl with shots fired.
Gangs were better armed now than before due to government ramming "poorly focussed, ill-conceived law" through, supported by the "strident screeching" of Police Association president Cahill. The government and police had only themselves to blame for the public scepticism and the rapidly growing lack of confidence in government MPs and the police.
The role of police in giving the Australian Tarrant a firearm licence despite glaring deficiencies in his application must not be forgotten and it is to be hoped that the Royal Commission will place a heavy burden of responsibility on both the Police hierarchy and on Jacinda Ardern’s committee in 2018 for dismantling the licencing procedure which has worked so well for over twenty years as a cost cutting measure.
"The buck stops at the top, Prime Minister Adern, her hapless deputy Peters and her hopeless Police Minister Nash,” said the writer.
Footnote: the full opinion piece can be viewed at the website of Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ Inc http://coranz.org.nz/opinion-governments-firearm-law-handling-disastrous/