MSSA Bill reported back

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, April 9th, 2019 - 10 comments
Categories: act, Christchurch Attack, crime, david seymour, democratic participation, law, law and "order", national, Politics, terrorism - Tags:

Michael Wood and Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee have done an outstanding job and have reported back the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill in the timeframe originally planned.

12,953 submissions were received.  60% of submissions analysed were supportive, 26% opposed and the balance made more complex comments.

Few changes have been made to the Bill.  Radio New Zealand has the details:

The Finance and Expenditure Select Committee has recommended only minor changes to the government bill banning semi-automatic rifles.

The committee finished its deliberations [yesterday] and published its report on the bill [yesterday] evening.

The report recommends changing the bill so pest controllers can use semi-automatic rifles on private land, rather than only in areas managed by the Department of Conservation.

It also calls for an exemption allowing people to keep heirloom weapons, so long as they are made inoperable by removing a vital part to be stored at a separate location kept secure by police.

The Green Party noted it considered this exemption to be at odds with the purpose of the amendment, and called for collectors’ firearms to be made permanently inoperable, despite the reduction in value this would entail.

The committee rejected calls to exempt competitive shooters from the ban because that would allow more semi-automatic firearms to remain in circulation.

David Seymour complained about the process being rushed.  Perhaps if he had rushed into Parliament last week he could have made things more difficult for the Government although the result would no doubt have been the same.

And there was support from interesting corners.  From the summary of submissions:

The majority of members of Rural Women New Zealand (Inc.) also supported the Government’s ban on military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles. The majority of their members (60%) did not believe semi-automatic firearms had a place on farms, and further supported the classification of prohibited firearms as set out in the Bill.

National filed a minority report.  I agree with their concern at the bill allowing for changes of definitions of ammunition being able to be made by order in council.  It should be in parliament passed law.  

Also the act contains “Henry VIII clauses” which allow the Government to amend the primary Act by regulation.  Again this is bad practice although understandable in the circumstances.

They also regret that MSSAs will not be able to be used in sporting contests.  I find it hard to imagine a legitimate sporting contest that involves the use of MSSAs.

Parliamentary debate on the bill is due today.

10 comments on “MSSA Bill reported back”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    I find it hard to imagine a legitimate sporting contest that involves the use of MSSAs.

    Well, I can imagine a sporting contest using MSSAs, though legitimacy could be an issue. The Nats could advocate a guerilla warfare tournament, in which macho white supremacist dudes wearing crusader iconography could fight it out with macho islamist dudes wearing the motif of the prophet. Conduct it on Auckland Island, to minimise collateral damage, with reality tv coverage so the tube violence addicts also get off on it.

    Good to hear that it looks like a credible gun law is in the making. Will be interesting to see if parliament actions it today or if the debate is prolonged till tomorrow.

  2. Anne 2

    Thanks mickysavage.

    Just goes to show what can be achieved in such a short space of time when all parties co-operate with one another. I applaud all of them – even David Seymour… who had a little tanty along the way but he can’t help himself.

    Today’s debate will be worth watching.

    The next step along this path is the introduction of laws against Hate Crime and Hate Speech. As someone who was a victim of both in days gone by, I am seriously thinking of making a submission. However, I need to speak with someone who has knowledge and expertise in this area or who can at least guide me through the correct processes.

    When the time comes, is it alright if I contact you for advice micky? I presume I can access your email via the backend of TS.

    • Formerly Ross 2.1

      I don’t believe we need a law against hate speech as we have various related laws already. Any specific law against hate speech would not have prevented the massacre in Christchurch.

      • Anne 2.1.1

        You have missed the point about Hate Speech FR.

        What is being talked about is the kind of speech where a person wittingly spreads lies and innuendo about another person (or a group) causing them to be seriously harmed by way of loss of job or career/loss of income/ loss of good reputation and at the more severe end of the scale… persecution and criminal acts against the person/persons being targeted.

        A recent example was Mark Blomfield. As a result of smears and innuendo spread by Cameron Slater through his blog “Whale Oil”, that man was persecuted and physically set upon by a gun wielding intruder who, iirc, also issued threats to his life. He lost his business, his friends and if I remember correctly he also lost his home and had to go into hiding.

        • Psycho Milt

          What is being talked about is the kind of speech where a person wittingly spreads lies and innuendo about another person…

          We already have a law against that (Defamation Act 1992), as well as a law against hate speech (Human Rights Act 1993, section 61). The latter one is already in conflict with the Bill of Rights Act, and any attempts to make it even more restrictive would make that conflict even worse. The last thing the country needs is an increase in authoritarianism.

          • Formerly Ross

            We also have a Harmful Digital Communications Act which deals with online harm and abuse. In the Bloomfield case, the matter went to court and Bloomfield was successful. Presumably if legislation was enacted to outlaw hate speech, an alleged victim would still need to go through the courts to get redress.

            • lprent

              See my expanded reply below.

              Blomfield is still at it 7 years after taking it to court.

              The HDCA isn’t targeted at hate speech of any kind. It is targeted at person to person nastiness, orientated towards teenagers and run by an organisation that are effectively useless as dealing with actual adults.

              The trick with hate speech is to deal with the questionable first – then argue in courts to establish precedence for the police and others to be guided by in teh future.

          • lprent

            PM: The problem isn’t if there are laws to deal with it. The problem is if there are ANY laws that are effective at dealing with it. That is a whole different matter.

            With Matt Blomfield and Slater, the defamation case is currently in its 6th or 7th year. It started in 2012. That was essentially an open and shut case. The documents that Slater was relying on did not support the facts that he alleged.

            Yeah Slater deliberately lied a lot, obstructed the courts, used a complete legal dickhead (Dermot Nottingham) as legal assistance and represented himself a lot. In the end Slater was simply unable to present a defense and ran out of the courts patience and appeals.

            Slater’s approach to him being a complete lying arsehole in his posts about Blomfield and then being called on it in a defamation action wasn’t to allow the courts to make a determination. Instead he rode himself over 6-7 years into personal bankruptcy and the site company (and co-defendant) into liquidation rather than deal with the issue that he, Slater, was legally in the wrong. And most of the expense landed on the plaintiff.

            As far as I am concerned that shouldn’t have been a civil matter, it should have been a criminal one.

            Defamation law is hardly worth bothering with due to its ability for the defendant to obstruct the courts and is inappropriate as well for hate speech.

            As far as I am aware the HRA s61 is in the same position. I don’t think that there is much case law or use on it due to the difficulties in even making a case.

            The nearest we have to actually being an appropriate law with the required speed is the HDCA, and that as an act is so heavily flawed because the agency tasked with doing the pre-court is essentially incompetent when it goes past its intended target audience – teenagers. I’ve had exactly one HDCA approach on this site, and Netsafe were clearly incapable of following the rules laid down in the Act. They didn’t provide any of the information required for me to pass the request to the author of the post.

            Besides it wasn’t targeted at hate speech.

            In my opinion, we need a procedure with way more summary authority in making speedy determinations of potential hate speech – because we don’t have anything at present. Specifically something that can take preemptive action to take crap down or detain idiotic fuckwits before the courts make their determination.

            It isn’t like it is particularly hard to identify what steps over the bounds, especially on the net. Nor is it that hard to stop technically on request. What is usually a problem at a technical level is that it requires some precision about how to deal with it – and particularly in the online spaces.

            There isn’t a lot of point in dealing with anything 7 years or even a year after the fact (think roastbusters)..

          • Anne

            The last thing the country needs is an increase in authoritarianism.

            You have misunderstood my point PM. My understanding is the law as it presently stands is confined to crimes based on gender, sexuality and ethnicity.

            Hate crimes are not always confined to one of those three basic premises and if the crimes committed fall into another category altogether – for example they may be politically motivated – then the victim is likely to receive scant attention from the police. At least that has been the experiences of the past. Sometimes the victim can even find themselves being treated as the perpetrator which is what happened to me.

        • McFlock


          We don’t want to bring back libel laws. Like a lot of law, while they nominally protect everyone, in reality they only protect the rich and the powerful.

          Blomfeld has his own civil case. Maybe there should be greater controls around sheltering wealth from civil liability (oh, random acts like, and I don’t know where I get these ideas from, putting assets into trust, making your spouse the owner of your companies, and declaring yourself bankrupt and assetless), but that’s a different issue.

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