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PM: We considered rural needs during gun reform process

The Country,
Publish Date
Wed, 10 Apr 2019, 3:32PM
Ardern says they made a "real effort" to make sure rural views were considered. (Photo / NZ Herald)

PM: We considered rural needs during gun reform process

The Country,
Publish Date
Wed, 10 Apr 2019, 3:32PM

Although changes to New Zealand's gun laws have caused criticism from some parts of the rural sector, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Government "made a real effort" to consider rural needs.

The select committee's recommendations for the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment bill was released this week.

The bill would ban military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles, with some exemptions for hunting, pest-control, collectors' items, and heirlooms and mementos.

When it comes to pest control on-farm, the bill recommended farmers could hire a specialised business, vetted by police, to do the work for them.

Federated Farmers rural security spokesman Miles Anderson criticised the bill for being impractical and said it could lead to an increase in the pest population.

"It's just not practical for farmers to get contractors in to do the work. It's the equivalent of asking us to paint the Auckland Harbour Bridge with a toothbrush," he said.

The Prime Minister told The Country's Jamie Mackay that the needs of the rural community were considered when creating the bill.

"That's where we gave really special consideration. I looked at what they did in Australia and they had a blanket semi-automatic ban and then had an exemption regime. So in one state alone for instance they had 16,000 farmers seeking exemptions."

"We instead took the decision to try and identify those guns that are legitimately used by our rural communities."

Ardern said certain guns had not been banned because of their importance to rural people, both at work and for recreational use.

The bill recommends farmers hire a specialised business for culling tahr. Photo / Stephen Jacquiery

"I made a real effort to try and talk to those who hunt and those who try and maintain pest management on their own farms – to try and cater for those legitimate uses."

"That's why you'll see our ban doesn't cover … ten round .22's. That's for very specific circumstances - like rabbit shooting for instance.

"It doesn't include five shot shotguns, again, because we know that's what our duck hunters predominantly use."

Hiring a specialised business to take care of pest control comes into play with pest management on large scale rural blocks, such as goats or tahr said Ardern.

"We've created a carve out, so those that are in [the] formal business of pest control ... they can seek an exemption to still hold appropriate weapons, because they're more likely to be contracted by ... our rural community for that pest use."

"So we've certainly tried to take all of that into account whilst getting rid of the worst guns that should not be in general circulation."

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