What good’s a story without any pictures?

Written By: - Date published: 1:23 pm, October 10th, 2007 - 48 comments
Categories: election funding - Tags:

Further to our release this morning of Hager’s testimony (PDF, 120K) refuting Brash and Key’s claim not to have planned their 2005 election campaign in cahoots with the Exclusive Brethren, we thought it might be nice to drop in some holiday shots of John and his reclusive mates.

Click the thumbnails for larger views.

key_brethren1.jpg key_brethren4.jpg

key_brethren2.jpg key_brethren3.jpg

48 comments on “What good’s a story without any pictures?”

  1. amk 1

    Ah more demonisation of the EB’s. Yawn

    How is it that the $800k pledge card theft and $15m spent of WFF (all taxpayer money) had nil impact on the election outcome, while scaremongering Labour sirens rage against the perfectly democratic activities of 6 businessmen was apparently at attempt to ‘buy’ an election.

    Labour now stands for one thing: Power by all/any means.

    Labour is working to steal re-election at all costs even if it means selling its voters out. They are disgracefully deceitful and show utter contempt towards the voters who placed their trust in that party.

  2. all_your_base 2

    amk, almost all parties overspent. They were all doing what they’d done before – *EXCEPT* – the National Party who by attempting to hide its relationship with the EB’s hoped to spend an extra *unattributable* $1.5m on its campaign. How can you possibly condone that?

    If you want to talk “Power by all/any means”, start there.

    What’s almost worse than the secrecy, is the lies that have followed. Brash was caught out and resigned. Key has managed to give the facts the slip – for the time being. He should come clean with the public on the true extent of his involvement. They deserve some honesty.

  3. Robinson 3

    Nil impact on the election outcome? Hmm I’d ask the Greens what they thought about that. It’s also worth pointing out that National used it’s leaders’ fund in 2002 to buy billboards and in 2005 to pay for imported campaign specialists. The EB broke the law by failing to put the correct authorisation on their material (in a deliberate attempt to disguise who was behind their $1.5m campaign – if you’ve known anyone who’s escaped from their church you’ll know why distancing themselves from their own campaign was a smart PR move).

    Oh and National also overspent by about $120k after “accidentally” failing to factor gst into their TV spend which I’m not sure they’ve actually paid yet (and yet people seem to see them as economically minded!) and spent hundreds of thousands if not millions on campaigning outside of the election period.

    As for WFF? It’s like a centre left social policy you fool. And last time I checked the current Govt was centre left. Ohhh it’s a conspiracy…

  4. Robert owen 4

    Tis diificult
    If RB and D4J get on here and start all their crap the place will go downhill rapidly.
    Have you got a posting policy ?

  5. Robinson 5

    I like trolls.

  6. r0b 6

    Welcome amk, the first troll on The Standard (at least as far as I know!).

    So this raises an intersting question. If we want to have a reasonable standard of debate around here, how do we respond to trolls? Ignore them? Try to counter them calmly and rationally? The one thing I think we *shouldn’t* do is rant back.

    In about 20 years of watching online forums evolve, I have never seen calm and rational debate work. No troll will ever change their views – “you can’t reason someone out of a position that they did not reason themselves into”.

    So, how best to respond to posts like this? I really don’t have an answer. Suggestions?

  7. r0b 7

    “I like trolls.”

    Well OK, they can be a bit entertaining. But they have terrible manners, and someone has to clean up the mess…

  8. tom-tom 8

    Could the moderator colour troll-text blue, then we could flick over them without reading?

  9. Sam Dixon 9

    ought to be careful not to label anyone who disagrees with the majority a troll, that way lies the mess that kiwiblog has become.

    amk,WfF is a government program, of course its funded with taxpayers’ money, that gives tax credits to families based on income and number of children. labour campaigned on WfF openly, voters could choose in their vote whether that was a program they wanted or not, no different from any other proposed fiscal outlay whether spending on health, or defence, or tax cuts or whatever.

    If you want to you can view any government fiscal outlay as a ‘bribe’, a tax cut in particular looks like one because the result is money directly in people’s pockets.

  10. Nih 10

    I would allow the trolls to post, ban the offensive and abusive ones and let reasonable freedom of expression run free.

    Let Redbaiter post, I’ve always wanted a profile of his IP addresses.

  11. amk 11

    r0b – happy to be here. if presenting an alternative view is being a troll then i’m happy to be labeled as such.

    in terms of style, i’ll take whatever personal abuse can be thrown at me and not respond in kind. i have seen what happens over a kiwiblog and there is some gross abuse there. childish.

    as for labour – i stand by my suggestion that their abuse of power is an outrageous sellout of their loyal voters. nz deserves better.

  12. Shane 12

    These people that criticise Labour, like they are saying “National is so much better”. National is no better. The worst part about that is they are not even in power. Therefore, what would they be like if they were in power?

    amk said: “Labour now stands for one thing: Power by all/any means.”

    National tells the voters what they want to hear, just to try and win the next general election. How is this any different?

  13. amk 13

    tom-tom, re: blue posts. just skip my posts and stay in your own little world. probably safer. for both of us.

  14. amk 14

    no Shane, National “might not be any better”. But better the devil you know eh?

    All I see Labour supporters do is critisise National, discredit Key etc etc. if Labour is so meritorious perhaps extolling their virtues, rather than damming the opposition might be valuable. Seems this site is quite single minded about the damming business.

  15. r0b 15

    “ought to be careful not to label anyone who disagrees with the majority a troll”

    That’s a good point Sam, thanks for the reminder.

    Contrary views certainly do not a troll make. However, I admit that I do find it hard to read the following as anything but trollish: “Labour now stands for one thing: Power by all/any means. Labour is working to steal re-election at all costs even if it means selling its voters out. They are disgracefully deceitful and show utter contempt towards the voters who placed their trust in that party”.

  16. Nih 16

    Apparently my query for redbaiter’s IP address REALLY upset some people. Check out this enjoyable thread:

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2007/10/capital_punishment.html

    While I didn’t set out to do anything other than enjoy discussing some politics, it appears we’re having a real effect on people if they’re reading blogs like The Standard.

  17. r0b 17

    “r0b – happy to be here. if presenting an alternative view is being a troll then i’m happy to be labeled as such.”

    Alternative views come in various flavours – from informed debate (which I hope will always be welcome here) to trollish rants (which it would be nice if we could avoid).

    Now I took your original comment as a trollish rant. Apologies if that was judging you too hastily.

    “as for labour – i stand by my suggestion that their abuse of power is an outrageous sellout of their loyal voters. nz deserves better.”

    OK, you stand by your suggestion. But can you substantiate it? What exactly is Labour’s “abuse of power”? How is it a “sellout of their loyal voters?”. Please give some specific examples. This is a genuine request for information. I am trying to understand the world as you see it…

  18. woppo 18

    Like all homophobes Redbaiter’s REALLY sensitive about his dangly bits.

  19. Robinson 19

    I must say Nih – after looking at that thread I’m kinda pleased I got banned over there. I notice these are TV One stills any chance of a youtube clip base?

  20. all_your_base 20

    My Robinson, you are observant! And yes, if I get a chance today I’ll try and throw up a moovee.

  21. Lee C 21

    Tane – I’m here!

    Well at the risk of sounding ‘paranoid’ I invite your comments to this about Hager’s submission to the Selct Committee:

    There are several issues there, and Hager mixes them liberally with opinion and accusation, some of which stick, and some of which are his assumption (and here I regard anything that cannot be supported by evidence as such).
    In that regard, I have disregarded factors raised which I do not think are relevant to the Bill as it stands but will comment on what I think is relevant to New Zealand in the 2005 election.
    So the following is a summary of what I believe Hager was saying:
    · Firstly it is apparent that national attempted to circumvent the Election Rules by employing EB cash to the tune of $1.5 million
    · They used the lack of transparency in the present system to try to deny this when caught out & But they were caught and Brash resigned.
    · Hager says ‘the Bill’ is needed, I would disagree ‘A Bill’ is needed, but not this one.
    · He indicates there is a problem with the drafting of a definition of ‘election advertising’
    · He asserts that $60,000 is plenty of money to cover electioneering over a nine-month period
    · He suggests a $2 million spending cap for all parties in an election year.to cover concerns of Labour who aren’t prepared to move on anonymous donations
    · He indicates that controls on anonymous donations are absent from the Bill
    · Neither are there controls on secret trusts which are ‘worse than a third party campaign.”
    · Neither does the Bill tighten declarations on how money is spent
    · He says that we need to register third parties throughout the electoral cycle.
    My thoughts on this are much the same as before. When you get through the (and there’s that word again) hyperbole, my opinion of the Bill as it is drafted still sits with the criticisms I have made after reading the HRC and Law Society submissions.
    Why?
    Well, let me count the ways:
    · There is an issue with the drafting of a term for ‘election advertising’ (ok that could be sorted)
    · $60,000 is a small sum to be allowed over the nine months of an election.
    · Is the government subject to a cap?
    · $2 million is a good idea, but the Labour Party won’t go for that because of the anonymous donations they need
    · anonymous donations, secret trusts are not controlled so the Bill will encourage those things. If all the stuff about National and the EB is so evil, why wasn’t the Bill structured to address those very things?
    · Getting people to put their names and addresses on placards soes nothing to tighten declarations of spending (if we had a definition of what ‘spending’ is & and that is missing from the Bill)
    · The need to register third parties throughout the electoral cycle is negated by the gaping holes in the rest of the Bill’s construction. It is pointless bureaucracy.
    So Robert Owen, after you get through the valid criticism of how evil the EB and National were & the Bill itself, and this is in Hager’s own opinion, even though he comes across as an advocate for it & is a crock.
    And funnily enough that is my opinion of it too.
    Sorry.

    Thing is, I would wish for transparency about political donations, including secret trusts, and third-party involvemtn. I would also like to see a proper definition of what constitutes election spending, and I would like to see a reasonable time scale (and I think ninety days is reasonable) for these factors to be employed.
    It sounds like a National Party line, perhaps, but in all honesty, that is coincidental. I’m not trying to assert that two rights make a wrong, Far from it I’m trying to illustrate that there is a lot of sanctimonious twaddle coming from some quarters about how some people manipulate the existing laws, but fail to acknowledge the same when it happens to come from a Party with whom they agree.
    My view of the Bill is it is inherently badly written. No fine tuning can fix it.
    It’s like you have inherited a car, the body is rusted, the engine is shot, and the tyres are bald, but, rther than save your time an effort by having it crushed, yo are insisting that a bit of paint and some chrome polish will make it humm like new.
    As we say in the UK, ‘You can’t polish a turd!’
    Then it occurred to me, that Nicky Hager makes some VERY VALID points about the National Party Key, Brash et al and the Exclusive Brethrens collusion.

    BUt that was all in the ‘Hollow Men’ was it not?
    Hager’s testimony on that score amounted to little more than a grandiose plug for his book, abetted by Benson Pope who has his own reasosn to bury the EB.
    Are we suggesting that major constituional reform be based:
    not on public consultation or referendum (see Winston’s Party principles)
    not on a proper enquiry and cross-part consultation, but rather
    on one book? (as worthy and well written as it was?)
    I mean I can understand enthusing about a book, even giving it a glowing review!
    But to base major constituional Law reform on it!!??
    Hager, too must be even now counting the ways his royalties can go into his own pension fund and good luck to him, I say!

  22. amk 22

    rOb – how can Labour sit on piles of hoarded taxpayer cash when it claims to care for the needy and disadvantaged? while the good folks here may well cite individual cases to the contrary, the general standard of health, education and wellbeing of NZers has been declining on their watch.

    would this have been better or worse under national? who knows. what we do know is that there’s a pretty well established pattern of lying, deception and scaremongering from Labour designed to help keep them in power. In mean really. the EFB is a disgrace. The demonisation of the EBs is a disgrace. The state of essential services is a disgrace. The conduct of Helen Clark herself is a disgrace.

    I have voted Labour in the past and could well do so again in the future. But right now they are sooooo far from their roots as to be, as a kiwiblog poster put it, about as attractive as a cup of cold sick.

  23. r0b 23

    amk, I asked – what exactly is Labour’s “abuse of power”? How is it a “sellout of their loyal voters?”.

    Your most recent post claims that Labour has done a poor job on the health, education, and well-being of NZrs. I don’t happen to agree with you, but that’s a different debate – there’s nothing there about “abuse of power”.

    You then claim a “a pretty well established pattern of lying, deception and scaremongering from Labour designed to help keep them in power”. Once again I’d be interested to hear what you consider to be specific examples that support this claim. We could then compare them to the practices of the National party described in The Hollow Men, and try and work out which were the best examples of “a pretty well established pattern of lying, deception and scaremongering”.

    Then: “the EFB is a disgrace”. I can at least see where you are coming from here. I agree that the EFB is not perfect draft legislation, and I await the recommendations of the select committee with interest.

    Then: “The demonisation of the EBs is a disgrace”. Labour have certainly highlighted the role that the EBs played in the last election. As indeed they should. But to call it demonisation is a bit of a stretch.

    Then: “The conduct of Helen Clark herself is a disgrace”. Outside of the ranks of the Kiwiblog heartland, I don’t think you’d find too many people that agree with that claim. She has made some mistakes, but they are pretty insignificant blemishes on a long and distinguished record as PM.

    So in short, I still don’t see any substance to the claim that there is an “abuse of power” that is a “sellout of their loyal voters”?

  24. amk 24

    rOb – Was the pledge card theft abuse of power? Was the retrospective validation of that theft an abuse of power? Was the massive WFF campaign just before the last election a tool to liberate taxper funds for political gain? I think yes, yes and yes.

    Is a mountain of taxpayer income stockpiled for targeted or even scatter-cast vote bribes dishonest? I think yes.

    Is the demonisation of 6 business men scaremongering? I think yes. It’s not a stretch to use the ‘d’ term at all. a tiny minority has been singed out for vitriol and state-sponsored bigotry that is unprecedented. It was and remains disgusting.

    Is it appropriate for Helen Clarke to state “. if members opposite want to tempt me, there is always the possibility of investigations into Nick Smith’s contempt of court, Gerry Brownlee’s act of assault, or whether Mr Groser still uses cannabis.”. That sounds like a threat to abuse her powers. How many other such abuses have been quietly actioned.. after 8 years. None? Yeah right. Oh and let’s not start on Doone, speeding, forgery, Philip-Field whitewash etc etc.

    In terms of dishonesty, let’s not pretend that any politician is lily white. But we can and should hold those with the most power and most voter trust to account the most closely.

    As for the sellout of Labour voters the EFB is the icing on the cake. How is loyalty rewarded? With a gag.

    Helen Clark might be a successful PM… but in politics ‘successful’ and ‘good’ now appear mutually exclusive. She has, in my mind at least, helped create that distinction. And I helped put her in power. I feel as guilty as hell.

  25. Robinson 25

    Dude – there’s so much wrong there I don’t know where to start. How about the fact that these fuckers are not just “six business men” but representatives of one of the most fucked-up backwards religious institutions ever? This “six business men” meme National is peddling is sickening – rather than accept they devised a backhanded campaign with a bunch of freaks who’ve covered up pedophilia, treat women as chattels and use people’s access to their families to blackmail them, they’re trying to make out these scumbags are just ordinary, ok types and fools like you are buying into it. Who the fuck raised you? Wolves??? (apologies to any wolves reading this).

  26. amk 26

    The EBs are no more represented in the vile things you claim and the general population. The businessmen never purported to represent their faith and one can be sure that if they were labour partner members we never would have heard of them.

    If there is evidence of wrong doing then the police are there to prosecute. You and I both support that. Where we differ is that you appear ready to play judge, jury and executioner to justify the vicious demonosation. Hardly cricket eh…?

    I’m no fool – but (or perhaps because) I think differently to you. While the EFB is still an unimplemented part of the Labour master plan I’ll speak my mind.

    Oh, regarding wolves, it only takes a couple of hours cruising the blogosphere to see where the most rabid wolves hang out.

  27. thomas 27

    Waaa ooooooohhhhhhh

  28. Sam Dixon 28

    My wife is a wolf

  29. Robinson 29

    Um due – they are the Brethren. That means they don’t act outside of their church. It’s against their faith to do so. And if that’s not enough evidence then how about the same campaign was run in Aussie and Canada by different Brethren members (of course that could just be coincidence). The EB are not like us – they live their lives entirely within their church (I’ll give you a wee hint: “exclusive”). Your ilk are more than happy to attack (and rightly so) the North Korean leadership for this kind of attitude. How would you feel if found out the Labour party was conniving with Kim Jong-il during an election campaign?

  30. Robinson 30

    That should start “Um dude”. And Sam my apologies to your wife (my girlfriend’s a fox so I know the kind of prejudice one can face)

  31. r0b 31

    amk wrote: “Was the pledge card theft abuse of power?”

    Calling it “theft” is good right-wing political framing, but calling it theft doesn’t make it theft, no matter how often the claim is repeated. Labour repeated well established spending practices, which the Auditor-General retrospectively found to be improper. Although not required to do so, Labour paid the money back. That hardly constitutes “theft”. By the way, has National paid back its GST overspend yet?

    “Was the retrospective validation of that theft an abuse of power?”

    There was no theft. Retrospective validation of government accounts occurs every year. (A National government validated, for example, $50 million of unlawful tourism expenditure in one year).

    “Was the massive WFF campaign just before the last election a tool to liberate taxper funds for political gain?”

    How is an attempt to assist those in need an abuse of power? Yes, too often the timing of such things is driven by the electoral timetable, but all governments that I remember have played the same game there.

    “Is the demonisation of 6 business men scaremongering? I think yes. It’s not a stretch to use the ‘d’ term at all. a tiny minority has been singed out for vitriol and state-sponsored bigotry that is unprecedented. It was and remains disgusting.”

    I guess we may just have to agree to disagree on that. I look at the same events that you do, but I do not see what you see.

    “Is it appropriate for Helen Clarke to state…”.

    Debate in the House is rather robust. While you can quote this text out of context and make it sound scary, those who were in the house at the time and heard it, have made no comments on it that I am aware of. I would have thought that if any member of National felt threatened, we would have heard about it by now. (Perhaps we will hear about it soon – as blogs feed back into real life).

    “In terms of dishonesty, let’s not pretend that any politician is lily white. But we can and should hold those with the most power and most voter trust to account the most closely.”

    Hurrah! We agree on something.

    “As for the sellout of Labour voters the EFB is the icing on the cake. How is loyalty rewarded? With a gag.”

    I have said that I share some concerns about the EFB, but I think we both need to wait until there is final legislation to discuss.

    So in short, I still don’t see any substance to the claim that there is an “abuse of power” that is a “sellout of their loyal voters”?

  32. amk 32

    r0b, I stand by my “abuse of power” and “sellout” comments. I’ve backgrounded why. So we’re goning to agree to disagree – that’s fine. Thanks for doing so without raising your voice or suggesting that my parents have paws. Be well.

  33. r0b 33

    amk – re your post above, cheers, thanks for that, and likewise I’m sure. I’m really hoping that The Standard can have better kind of debate than is typical of blogs. We can all do our part.

  34. Robinson 34

    AMK, rOB. I’m sorry. I think Kiwiblog may have destroyed my ability to debate politely and rationally. I did think the Kim Jong Il analogy was quite a nice rhetorical touch though…

  35. amk 35

    “How would you feel if found out the Labour party was conniving with Kim Jong-iL?”

    🙂

  36. Shane 37

    I would like to add to the debate about the Exclusive Brethren…
    Somebody once said to me that if you don’t vote, don’t complain…true words I believe. On that note I feel the EB should simply zip it and crawl back to that idealistic world they came from.

    AMK you support them, obviously because they secretly throw money at your Nat mates. What do you personally think of them?

  37. amk 38

    Shane, I think the EB have a lots of odd attributes. so do model railway enthusiasts, online tantrax players and MP’s. that’s doesn’t stop any of these groups from being entitled to participate in NZ democratic debate. Democracy is enriched by diversity of opinion not conformity to anyone’s version of democracy. The EBs are entitled to have their say as publicly or as privately as they choose. That is their right as it is yours. So do I support them? No. Do I support their right to exercise the democratic freedoms afforded them in NZ? Absolutely!!

    I agree that the EBs should vote if they expect their concerns to accepted as a credible contribution to the democratic process. That they choose not to is odd, but perfectly legal.

    Let’s not go down the path of slamming secret donations. we all know that the Labour party receives lots and lots of these, has the power to stop them and has chosen not to do so. The day they legislate for transparency is the day that they (and their supporters) will be able to insist that other parties lift their own games, and not before.

    National are not my mates. I do not belong to any political party and have voted Labour, National, United Future, Social Credit and others over the years.

  38. amk 39

    Oh, and have also voted NZ First [hangs head in shame, slumps shoulders and shuffles away….]

  39. Nih 40

    It’s ok, I’ve voted Act. But I think a lot more of Prebble than I do most politicians.

  40. Robinson 41

    Nih – you just lost so much of my respect.

  41. r0b 42

    “AMK, rOB. I’m sorry. I think Kiwiblog may have destroyed my ability to debate politely and rationally.”

    Don’t let them take it away from you, Robinson. Join the (futile) battle for higher standards of online debate!

  42. tom-tom 43

    I listened to a couple of nasty young Exclusive Brethren ‘men’ threaten (in a scarcely veiled kind of way, face to face) the Green candidate at a meet-the-candidates event here, then and then go on to publicly slag off the Labour candidate for her never having had children! Their language was foul. These are twisted individuals, thriving under cover.

  43. Nih 44

    Nih – you just lost so much of my respect.

    Boo. I’m free to vote as I like. If you want to vote for a party based on other decisions, fine. I vote for the person with the best ideas, not the strongest following or the one my peers are voting for.

    I voted act because at the time MMP was new and it still seemed possible we could have a balanced government that gave more opportunity to alternative ideas and therefore more options. Too bad it turned out to require skill in politicking, which is why we’re still Labour/National/Winston Peters.

  44. Robinson 45

    And I’m free to not respect you for voting as you like. Jeez, blimmin libertarians see threats to their autonomy everywhere (oh and I still like you bro and I still respect you (just a little less).

  45. amk 46

    tom-tom – not good. the same scene was probably repeated all over the candidate meeting world, with people belonging to all manner of groups and from all sorts of political afiliations. based on the way one chap (who runs a kindergaten) bollocked a local candidate in my electorate it might be possible to assume that kindergaten owners are complete animals!

  46. Tane 47

    Except we know that the EB are. For a kindy owner, that would be an abberation. For the EB this would be part of the church’s modus operandi. I’m not saying all EB members are like this – I’ve known several women who have been trapped in that awful organisation with no hope of ever getting out. But they’re not the ones who were intimidating people at candidate meetings and organising electoral rorts with John Key.

  47. amk 48

    election rort? wrongdoing? i don’t think so but hey i’m open minded: call the police and have them investigate and lay charges… or, easier still, just a continue the smear campaign.

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