‘Bugger off,’ NZ ex-police minister tells National Rifle Association

‘Bugger off,’ NZ ex-police minister tells National Rifle Association

March 22, 2019

Christchurch: A New Zealand MP and former police minister, Judith Collins, has told the National Rifle Association to "bugger off" out of the nation's affairs as it prepares to introduce sweeping gun law reforms.

National Party MP Judith Collins said that when she sought to introduce gun law reforms during her two stints as police minister, she was inundated by lobbying from a small, vocal and passionate group of lobbyists from New Zealand’s gun industry.

A policeman stands guard at the Al Noor Mosque ahead of a national call to prayer.Credit:Jason South

She told the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that these lobbyists typically directed massive amounts of material that appeared to be sourced directly from the National Rifle Association to her office and those of other MPs.

“They talked about how we were trying to take away their Second Amendment rights to own guns. We don’t have a right to bear arms. To own a gun in New Zealand is absolutely a privilege and not a right,” she said.

“When I met with these lobbyists they spoke the language of the NRA.”

New Zealand National Party MP Judith Collins.Credit:AP

She said she had again begun receiving similar material, but now deleted them without reading.

“Firstly, I am no longer the police minister so I don’t have to read them. But also I know what my position is and it is not going to change. We have lost 50 people.”

Earlier this week it was reported that Nicole McKee from the New Zealand Council of Licensed Firearm Owners had received messages of condolence from the NRA on the weekend after the shooting.

"The first point of correspondence has been about sharing the grief and acknowledging the terrorist attack," she told Newshub.

An AR-15 rifle in an American gun store.Credit:AP

She said her organisation had not been given any advice on potential changes to the gun legislation.

"There's been lots of offers of help which has been great, but until we understand and know what the Government intent is no one can help us with anything."

Ms Collins said she fully supports the government's move to ban semi-automatic weapons with magazines that hold more than five rounds and urged the government to go further by introducing a gun registry.

She said she understood the current police minister, Stuart Nash, had begun receiving the same sort of lobbying material that she did when in the role.

As police minister Ms Collins was able to introduce just two minor gun law reforms. High-powered air rifles were categorised as firearms after a police officer was shot dead with one, and pistol grips for military-style semi automatic weapons were banned to make them harder to fire from the hip.

The NRA is widely viewed as America’s most feared lobby group, with the political power to shape policy simply by publishing pre-election rankings of candidate’s stance on gun policy. When American politicians step "out of line," not only does the NRA campaign against them, they typically channel massive amounts of funding to their opponents.

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