Fuseworks Media

SPANZ highlights Labour’s ‘selective memory’

The Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand wishes to highlight the comments made by Opposition MPs, an example being Labour Party leader Chris Hipkins during question time in Parliament on the 28 th of February 2024, that shows a lack of understanding or wilful blindness to their historic amendments to the Arms Act.

The Labour Party leader Chris Hipkins, alongside members of the media, have repeatedly asked Nicole Mckee, if the Arms Act overhaul will increase access to MSSA firearms. MSSA firearms are defined by being semi-automatic, alongside having at least one of a list of prescribed characteristics.

The list of characteristics included:

– Folding Stock

– Telescopic Stock

– Bayonet Lug

– Flash Suppressor (Flash Hider)

– Pistol Grip

– Rimfire firearms with a magazine that appears to hold more than 15 cartridges.

– Rimfire firearms with a magazine that holds more than 15 cartridges.

– Centerfire firearms with a magazine that appears to hold more than 10 cartridges.

– Centerfire firearms with a magazine that holds more than 7 cartridges.

The MSSA definition does not conform with any relevant international standards for firearms characteristic metrics for ‘Military Style’ firearms. Military Style Semi-Automatic firearms no longer exist in New Zealand as a legally recognised type of firearm due to the previous Labour Government’s Arms Act changes. With Labour’s abolishment of the E-category (which contained the MSSA firearms), it unwittingly allowed most rimfire rifles and shotguns that would have previously fit some of the MSSA criteria, to be owned on A-category licenses.

SSANZ questions why Labour MPs are so concerned about the accessibility of MSSA firearms in New Zealand when this type of firearm no longer exists. The reason it doesn’t exist is because these same MPs voted to make most types of would-be MSSA firearms available to A-category license holders

after 2019 when E-category MSSA provisions were repealed. A minority of semi-automatic firearms were moved to the P-category where they could be owned for the appropriate reasons, such as commercial pest control, and collecting.

We caution against the use of ‘buzz words’ to drum up fear when discussing Arms Act changes. MSSA firearms do not exist in New Zealand, and the classification itself does not follow any sort of internationally recognised technical standards so we question its relevance in he current debate

beyond scaremongering.

The repeated emphasis on ‘Military Style’ firearms becoming available in the present-day context is a scaremongering campaign that Labour (among others) is resorting to in a last-ditch effort to protect their flawed Arms Act. Labour either chooses to omit or doesn’t understand that they made available a majority of would-be MSSA’s to the standard A-category license in 2019 to be used for hunting and target shooting, whilst never removing centerfire semi- automatic rifles from circulation, opting to merely move them to various other endorsement types.

At a minimum SSANZ, alongside New Zealanders, expects any politician to understand legislation, as well as the consequences of changes they make to it. Labour has either been ignorant of their last 5 years of amendments, or they are deliberately misleading New Zealanders with their scaremongering.

SSANZ would like to highlight that Labour’s abolishment of MSSA classification resulted in the ability for basic A-category license to own MSSA-configured shotguns and rimfire rifles, which appears to be an unintended consequence.

It does leave New Zealanders to wonder about Labour’s understanding of the Arms Act post-2019 and the validity of their party’s current comments and positions.