NZ firearm laws

An Act party Survey of licensed firearm owners (LFO's) collected from the ACT party Fair Firearms Law questionnaire reported  a dismal score for NZ police handling of LFO's at 1.5 / 10 reflecting the deep set of police created systemic failures summarized here.

In court, Colfo's lawyer Jack Hodder Kings Council said gun and ammunition owners' property rights had been "extinguished".

"All the property rights of value are gone."

"Law experts and gun owners are genuinely concerned over police use of warrant less search powers.

On New Year's Eve, police used the Search and Surveillance Act to conduct a warrant-less search of the Christchurch home of an anti-government, pro-gun pastor Carl Bromley to seize his gun and ammunition. Police said they had received concerns about a person’s well being.

With no warrant required by using section 18 of the act, officers “ransacked” his home and took his rifle, 500 rounds of ammunition and firearms parts. Bromley has not yet received his gun back from police.

Bromley said he had made no threat with his firearms, felt police violated his privacy and were overly forceful. He questioned whether the search was lawful.

In September, 81-year-old antique gun collector Robert Keenan had 110 guns confiscated along with his licence after police suspected he was supplying guns to gang members.

Before Christmas police wrote to Keenan's lawyer confirming he was not a threat and that he could have his guns back, but said they were concerned his home could be targeted by organised criminal gangs.

But Keenan had died, never knowing his license was being returned.

Keenan’s lawyer, firearms specialist Nicholas Taylor, said he had submitted legal letters for at least 12 firearms license owners after similar raids over the last year, winning the return of weapons for each because there were no legal grounds to remove them.

Taylor said many of the police searches were of elderly men, who lived alone, and he believed it was a trend.

A police spokesperson said: “I can tell you definitively that police do not have a policy targeting older gun owners.”

Taylor said he wanted an independent authority to investigate which gun owners warranted home searches by police, as such raids could amount to a breach of privacy and the Bill of Rights.

“Police are not particularly great administrators, and why should they be. We need an independent authority overlooking these.”

The Search and Surveillance Act 2012 allows police to conduct warrant-less searches if they suspect a gun license owner is of danger to themselves or the community.

A police officer in charge of a search can seek permission from an issuing officer either in person, over the phone, or by email.

An issuing officer is authorized by the attorney-general, who can approve any Justice of the Peace, community magistrate, registrar, deputy registrar or other person to act as an issuing officer.

The law allows police to move quickly and initiate and conduct such searches without the oversight of the court.

Christchurch criminal lawyer Anselm Williams said firearms law changes had not made it easier for police to conduct warrant-less searches, but police were taking more interest in gun owners since the 2019 terror attack.

“There is no requirement that the court even know that a search is going to be conducted or has been conducted.”

These powers mean there was risk of putting fit gun owners through unlawful property searches or firearms confiscations, he said.

While police needed to be allowed to do their job, the public also needed to be satisfied they were doing it properly and within the law, he said.

“In cases where a search has been conducted unlawfully, those involved should be held to account.”

There are about 250,000 firearms licensed gun owners in New Zealand. To get a license, Kiwis need to go through police interviewing, gain references and be determined as fit to possess firearms.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch mosque attacks found police had not conducted these in full on the terrorist who killed 51 people.

Superintendent John Price says since the 2019 terror attacks, police have conducted more home searches for prohibited guns.

Canterbury district Superintendent John Price agreed firearms searches had increased.

“The environment that we operate in since March 15 has been heightened. It has changed drastically.

“What we know is if someone had an ideology or a view or opinion on something like March 15, it just escalates – it is like cream rising to the top.”

ACT Party justice spokeswoman Nicole McKee said all gun owners were being treated like “violent gang thugs or ... potential terrorists”.

McKee said cases like Keenan’s were not uncommon and police needed to be careful not to overstep their jurisdiction.

“Yes, we need to make sure firearms are in the hands of fit and proper people, but we need to make sure that power is not being abused.”

Well before the mosque attack, the home of journalist and author of Dirty Politics Nicky Hager was raided by police as part of an investigation into his sources. In 2018, police apologized and acknowledged they breached his rights.

Hager, who is not a gun owner, believed police were out of their depth and the search was a waste of time.

“They took it on like they were investigating a P (methamphetamine) raid, someone selling P.”

Police admitted they inappropriately obtained Hager’s banking information, and that they obtained a search warrant despite him not being “a suspect of any offending”.

Hager said the house search was unpleasant for him and his family, with his daughter having to be accompanied by a female officer to get changed in her bedroom.

“They were doing a drug raid, on territory to do with democracy and rights, that they just weren’t equipped for. It was over the top.”

Former New Zealand Herald and Stuff columnist Rachel Stewart found herself on the wrong side of the new gun laws when in June her .22 rifle was confiscated following a Tweet she made.

Police went to her home without a warrant and handed her documentation telling her she was unfit to hold a license, confiscating her gun and ammunition.

Police cited a specific tweet, as well as “consistent Twitter posts in which you demonstrate a tendency to exhibit hatred towards the transgender community”.

Stewart said the confiscation came six weeks after the Tweet and showed no urgency.

“How much of a threat was I if they waited that long to confiscate my firearms?”

After making a legal submission her firearms license was posted back a few weeks later."

Following quote is an excerpt from a police statement that was used as the sole basis for suspension of a licensed firearm owner's license, a law abiding citizen holding a pilot's license. The ammunition, parts and firearms were properly stored as prescribed within the storage and transportation of firearms and ammunition guide and approved by previous police vetting and according to three witnesses was locked.

Police adamantly ignored facts and claimed they relied on the following policeman's statement as expertise; “I am not familiar with the requirements around storage of firearms however this did not appear to be adequate.”

An image the untrained policeman recorded of the locked firearms storage on his mobile phone disappeared from the police record. A cupboard for ammunition the untrained policeman alleged had no lock was properly locked according to the three witnesses, including images supplied as further evidence of the locked cabinet without external screw heads according to requirements.

The evidence was supplied to police firearm resolution whom ignored and then failed to define any exact fault, despite requests what was wrong. NZ Police responded vaguely and continuously claiming that storage was not up to date or the ammunition or firearms were unsecured. Consequently the LFO, witnesses and the public remain uninformed on how to improve firearm and ammunition storage as police provided no evidence of the alleged fault.

The only relief within the present system via district court. A further addition for taxpayer and LFO costs. A lawyer was employed and the license was returned.

When the LFO went to local station recover the license from the arms officer the LFO stated he had done nothing wrong. The arms officer pathetic response " was lucky to get it back" and defensively "it was his word against the police" and refered specifically to the policman whom had admitted in writing he was untrained and not familiar with the firearms act regulations and lied. No explanation of any fault was offered for the LFO to improve storage of the firearms. The same arms officer had held the same position for several years indicating that police are dissinterested in following law and are actively treating firearms property and the law as a recreational police domain.

ACT's Nicole McKee reviewed the police conduct; "Police are making criminals of firearm owners. I would hope that a regime we implement will make things better, but I fully expect that there will teething problems in any new regime, its how we deal with it that matters. First and foremost it means taking LFOs on the same journey as us, not excluding them and treating them like gang members".

Recently a police prosecutor was fined $20000 after proven in court he withheld defense evidence. This is an overdue first and needed accountability for a fair system where police are held personally responsible like everyone else in NZ however it illustrates police are not capable in the role as ad hoc arbitrator for firearms resolution. Their job and function is biased toward prosecution. The not so bright political parties that envisioned and wrote the present and clearly unbalanced system into law applying police as the arbitrator; NZ First, Labour, Greens , National.

Advice from experienced NZ firearm legal specialists that LFO's should record with their personal camera demonstrating;  firearm storage facilities are accordingly locked and used as evidence of police movements and conversations. Do not rely on police body cameras functioning or used as they rarely wear them.

A district firearm officer ordered registered firearms belonging to one LFO must also be registered by another LFO whom was storing the firearms, a double registration. There is no requirement in the firearms act or any provision within the police firearm register. Gun City commented that local firearm officer interpretations of the act will vary from town to town.

NZ police information security audit scored low reflecting the publicly known events of unsecured storage of firearm owners identities lost or stolen and discovered in criminals possession also emailed to wrong recipients. Resulting in theft of firearms and personal I.D. theft has reinforced LFO's registration concerns that police are unable to repair security breach failures.

In December 2002, reported that the Canada registration project was running vastly above initial cost estimates. The report showed that the implementation of the firearms registry program has had significant strategic and management problems throughout. Taxpayers were originally expected to pay only $2 million of the budget while registration fees would cover the rest. In 1995, the Department of Justice reported to Parliament that the system would cost $119 million to implement, and that the income generated from  fees would be $117 million. This gives a net cost of $2 million. At the time of the 2002 audit, however, the revised estimates from the Department of Justice were that the cost of the whole gun control program would be more than $1 billion by 2004-05 and that the income from license fees in the same period would be $140 million.

At the same time according to Pharmac, the NZ health system cannot afford 280 million for special treatment drugs to save and prolong lives.

ACT Party policy election claims;

ACT has always stood up for LFOs and always promised that any policy would include thorough consultation with the LFO community. You can make your voice heard and provide feedback by emailing

Some highlights of ACT’s policy include:

• Creating a separate, truly independent Firearms Safety Authority for licensing administration
• Scrapping the firearms registry
• Introducing a three-tier licensing system which recognizes that all firearms pose a threat in the wrong hands, and that licensing the individual is the key to preventing misuse. This system will adopt a risk mitigation approach without outright banning possession of semi-automatics.
• Instant license disqualification for gang membership
• Recognizing overseas offenses in the vetting process.

The full policy can be viewed here.

As per the abuse examples described NZ police tend to extend restrictions toward abiding LFO's where police patently lack requisite training and are keen to exert their fertile imaginations, abundant time, tax funded resources available and no care, all while avoiding confrontations with Gang patches as per police representive Chris Cahill's statement; “outside of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, there’d be very few police districts that would have enough staff to enforce the new rules on a group of gang members in patches.”

Take the law abiding guns and thow them into the crushers and avoid the gang patches is the police rep's fervent message.

Police use the new ad hoc gang assembly laws for lawfare which is actually illegal according to the present bill of rights against groups of more than five, shooting clubs and to shut down freedom of speech such as Destiny Church on a bike ride to telegraph Brian Tamaki's opinions that don't mesh with a police version resulting in ad hoc raids by cops whom have no memory regarding actual law as per the iterated examples and the prosecutions of award winning journalists whom are simply publishing established facts police don't like.

Luxon commented in the news on March the 15 "NZ should be more inclusive".

So the following survey is from Berkley USA. A haven for all things left:
"Globally, New Zealand and Sweden swapped places from last year to take the first and second spots on the list of most inclusive countries, respectively, with Norway holding on to third place for the second straight year.
This was the first year New Zealand came in first place, although it regularly scores very high along with Northern European countries known for their strong social safety net programs."
Polititians with selective memories like sieves whom are all in favor of banning firearms in law abiding homes all forget he was a foreigner.

As a front man for Air NZ Luxon could  brush up on that positivity that he promised he would bring to the job. Perhaps state facts in his speech as they are,  NZ is the leader in the world for inclusivity and the crime was perpetrated by a foreinger that the police firstly failed by wrongly granting the perpetrator a firearms license and now in a deep state of inept over-reactionary compensation as per 1.5/10 survey score prooves.

Despite that result for their own survey ACT McKee recently flipped in a matter of a few months in power and became an authoritarian in a supposedly libertarian party by supporting the low score police state laws she said she would address and in fact introduced more draconian laws that police will prosecute variously vaguely using their fertile imaginations. In her own words at an Act convention, she said many will be disappointed.

Anyhow for fairer legal advice regarding firearm issues you are best to seek advice from lawyers whom are clearly seperated from local  police and court systems. Contact COLFO lawyers Franks Ogilvie

Contact information
Level 5
Wakefield House
90 The Terrace
Wellington 6011
PO Box 10388
The Terrace
Wellington 6143
Main: +64 4 815 8050
Fax: +64 4 815 8039

And as they say in the legal profession...good luck.

Voting has worked in the past as shown by the Game Animal Council that was vigorously opposed by DoC was enacted by the United Future Party and Peter Dunne. Combined with NZ Deer Stalkers Assn. they have carried out research directly countering DoCs spurious claims that Deer, Tahr and game are deemed a risk to global warming also 1080 deer repellent actual use is another example of progress toward recognizing "game" animals  as a resource.