Reducing drivers licence fees, yet proposing to increase firearm licence fees?

It is impossible not to see a pattern of sorts emerging from the news reports of proposals to
reduce fees for driving motor vehicles (which contribute directly more than 9,000 injuries and
deaths annually), and to increase fees for firearm licence holding (from which casualty numbers
are less than 500 annually, mostly from intentional self-harming).

This pattern is however riddled with anomalies: with more than 4 million holding licences to
operate any form of motor vehicle on a public road, there are only about 240,000 people licensed
for firearm possession and use. The former are a majority, the latter a minority.

Never mind the vastly higher number of casualties from motor vehicle misuse, if we relate these to the number of licensed users, we obtain a rate per 10,000 residents for motor vehicle misuse (causing a casualty or two) of more than 20 per 10,000, which when compared to the equivalent rate by firearm
licence holder, is almost identical, also at 20 per 10,000 residents.

Yet three-quarters of the firearm casualties are intentional, often by unwell people intent on self-destruction.
The questions must be asked, does putting fees up encourage licence holding?

And, if we knew the number of unlicensed firearm owners, what is their casualty rate?

Do you really feel safer?

N.Z. First agrees they were mistaken to support gun law reforms

Sporting Shooters President Alec Melville recently met New Zealand First candidate Shane Jones about NZ First support of the misguided Labour Government’s firearm law reforms.

 Blunt-speaking Shane Jones not only agreed that NZ First were mistaken in supporting the law reforms but also indicated that he does not support further reforms including full firearm registration (FFR).

Mr Jones said that New Zealand First would rather Police concentrate on the gangs than making license holders lives a misery through excessive regulation.

This is contrasts with the reaction of outgoing Dunedin North MP Dr David Clark at a meeting in March with Chaz Forsyth, who when shown an example of the intensive and onerous details to be provided for gaining Commissioner of Police approval of all small arms ranges, responded to the effect that the keeping of records in a centralised system would reduce the dependence upon clubs, whose recruitment of committee members had long posed difficulties.

The burdensome firearm law reforms imposed by a central government intent on trying anything to curb violent crime had rebounded to the detriment of the licensed firearm owners, without impacting upon those whose ill-intent had already been publicly declared.

“Do you feel safer?” is a question which must be asked in light of these ‘reforms’.

NZDA Raises Concerns Over Police’s Proposed Firearms Licensing Fee Increases During Cost of Living Crisis

MEDIA RELEASE; 16 March 2023

The New Zealand Deerstalkers Association (NZDA) is deeply concerned with the recent proposal by the Police to significantly increase firearms licensing fees. 

The proposed fee hikes have the real potential to severely impact public safety, Aotearoa New Zealand’s conservation and biodiversity goals, and other community good outcomes, particularly in terms of our ability to educate firearms users in the safe handling and storage of firearms and ammunition. 

Additionally, the proposed fees unfairly target lower-income recreational hunters and shooters, many of whom depend on hunting to provide food for their families, especially during the current cost of living crisis. 

At the NZDA, we believe that the proposed fee increases will not necessarily improve safety and security of firearms in New Zealand, instead the fee hikes will be used to pay for high-paying government jobs in Wellington. 

In fact, if fees are set at a level which is unaffordable to the 240,000 firearms licence holders, it may have the opposite effect by leading to decreased compliance and a decline in the number of licensed firearms owners. 

NZDA’s CEO, Gwyn Thurlow, says “the goal to impose cost recovery on a small pool of people at the cost of general public safety has to be weighed up. And that balancing act has to be considered in the context that firearms are used across our communities for farming, pest control and hunting purposes and those communities have been hit hard in recent times. Huge hikes would be unreasonable for the government to impose”.

The Police failed to do any community-impact or price-sensitivity analysis before coming up with their proposals. Recognising the potential adverse consequences of such a proposal, NZDA conducted a survey of over 2,500 people to obtain data on the community impact and gather their views on the proposal. Our survey data shows that most current licensed firearms owners are willing to accept a fee increase to their licences of between $150-$300.

“Owning and using firearms is now a privilege under the Arms Act but in New Zealand, unlike in most other countries, it has not just been accessible for the rich and privileged. Here we have a tradition of all Kiwis being able to hunt and gather food as a fundamental part of our culture and tradition,” Mr Thurlow said.

The NZDA has identified several concerns with Police’s proposal, including a likely significant drop in compliance, education, and safety, an increase in the size of the grey and black-market trade of firearms, a decrease in Police oversight over firearms possession and use, and a reduction in the use of formal dealers in exchange for informal, ad-hoc person-to-person sales of firearms and ammunition.

In addition, the proposed fee increases will cause a shortfall in the number of valued big game and pest animals harvested and controlled on both private and public land. This will have to be met by taxpayer and ratepayer agencies such as the Department of Conservation, Land Information New Zealand, QEII Trust, and Regional Councils (each of which will in turn have faced high costs due to the same Police fees being imposed). This will have severe consequences for taxpayers and ratepayers as well as families dependent on hunted food/mahinga kai who are already struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

If firearms usage drops due to licensing being unaffordable, this will significantly increase browsing pressure on our native plant species which is in direct opposition to the goals of the Te Ara ki Mua Framework which states that the key action is to reduce browsing pressure and support ecosystem resilience by:

  • Improving monitoring, delivery, and evaluation of wild animal management, and
  • Coordinating efforts and enhancing capacity across the people, organisations, and agencies involved in wild animal management.

The NZDA believes that the proposed fee increases will also result in restricted access to sport shooting and recreational hunting, particularly for lower-income communities including rural and Māori communities and youth. It is likely that there will be significantly lower uptake of sports that require firearms if fees increase. As a nation that regularly wins medals at Commonwealth and Olympic Games in shooting disciplines, this would be detrimental to attaining world class skills.

In light of these concerns, the NZDA has requested that Police reconsider the proposed fee increases for firearms licensing and engage with the NZDA and the firearms community to discuss our concerns.

Mr Thurlow said, “At the moment a firearms licence is $126.50 but that is set to increase to somewhere in the order of $700-$1000. What this means is that the average person won’t afford a firearm, they won’t get into the sport of hunting or they may give it up because it is unaffordable. And that is a huge risk to biodiversity and public safety.”


  1. NZDA’s full submission to Police is available here.
  2. NZDA has contacted Police and the Minister of Police on multiple occasions to request official information in response to many of our concerns. Those requests have thus far been denied or have been left unanswered. We can provide copies of those documents if required.


– ENDS –


Gwyn Thurlow, CEO and General Counsel

M: 0274060060 



February 5, 2023 @ 21:30 hr

Creating a massive empire with hundreds of new staff is not the answer to solving the woes of the police Firearm Safety Authority” says Neville Dodd the president of the Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand.

This in response to revelations that a police internal survey of arms control staff found many flaws in the system, not least the lack of training and support for staff:

Dodd said, “We have been saying since 2017 that the system was failing, including the diversion of funds to other Police functions, as documented in the Police Annual report of 2018.

The Commission of Inquiry into March 2019 proved us right when it concluded that police had failed in their duty to properly administer firearms licensing.

The problem now is that rushed law changes made by the Labour government have made everything so complicated that few people really understand the law and its regulations. As a result licensed firearm owners have lost trust and confidence in the police, and non compliance is sure to become a real issue, especially following the massive fee hikes proposed by the new FSA Empire builders.

For successful domestic arms control what is needed is simple laws that are easy to understand and follow, with less red tape and a rebuilding of trust between the police/regulators and the firearm owning community.

Laws must be aimed at targeting those who perpetrate crime rather than those who live peacefully in our communities.

This can only be achieved by collaboration between all parties, where the police are supporters of the firearm community rather than the oppressors they have become since 2019.


In a discussion document released yesterday entitled Arms regulations: Review of fees 2022 Police seek to recover the full cost of administering many of the laws and regulations covering the ownership and use of firearms, together with partial cost in some instances, from licensed firearm owners.

In many cases they are proposing to raise fees from a few hundred dollars to over a $1,000 and also apply huge fees to activities that have required no charged previously.

As Sporting Shooters Association President Neville Dodd says, “some of these fee hikes are outrageous and will only serve to drive many away from firearm ownership or alternatively see massive non compliance”.
For example currently dealers pay $50 to transfer their dealers licence to a gun show or auction venue, police are proposing that this should increase to $ 1,120.  This in itself will deter many smaller dealerships from attending gun shows.
Police are now proposing that collectors pay a fee of $ 1,100 for permission to remove a restricted firearm from their home to display at a public show or club event.  This will mean the end of public displays or military reenactments by private collectors with their heritage arms.
All these additional cost have been forced on the firearm community by the government and police with their new laws and regulations in the name of making the public safer.  It is only fair and reasonable that any additional costs of regulating firearms in New Zealand is born by the public purse. 

Further it should be noted that with only the new police Firearm Safety Authority legally allowed to charge these fees there is no incentive for improving efficiency or competitive pricing. We are stuck with a ponderous monopoly.

! More regulation? Give us your feedback please!

It looks like NZ Labour Party via NZ Police, are bent on burying the shooting sports in paperwork & proscriptive regulation. Take a look at these range compliance guidelines and please send your feedback to us at



So why is $1 Million a week being spent over regulating us?

As a shooting community we are very conscious of firearms safety and practice it carefully and consistently because we understand firearms and the potential dangers.
That is why there are so few serious incidents involving properly vetted and licensed citizens who own and use firearms for sport and recreation.

Anyone who looks at the evidence will be aware that many more people are harmed or killed every year due to the unsafe and irresponsible use of motor vehicles than the use of firearms. Legislation and enforcement should be beneficial but it does not appear to solve the problem of traffic violations, driver errors, collisions, injuries and deaths.

Improving roading, identifying and rectifying potential hazards and encouraging better driver competence and safety would reduce the risks of being injured by people driving motor vehicles that we are all exposed to everyday.

In comparison, firearms are not a great risk because they are used less frequently, by less people and not in public places where they might endanger other people.

Utilizing our scarce public resources (when we are already encumbered by national debt we cannot repay) where they can provide the most benefit for the most people, is the only practical and sensible course of action for people in government to follow.

The people of New Zealand would derive vastly more benefit from improvements in health services, education, affordable housing, dealing with violent criminals, public works and road safety, rather than imposing and trying to administer more restrictive regulations on owners and users of firearms (who are very conscious of their responsibility to use their firearms safely and in places where other people are not at risk of being harmed).

We do not need, and will not derive any benefit from this diversion of public money and resources, from more serious issues, to the regulation of responsible firearms owners who do not want to harm them.

Our tax money, national debt and government resources are being wasted and voters should be aware and concerned about the competence and responsibility of the people in government who are wasting that resource.

The ‘Othering’ of licensed firearms owners

The ‘othering’ of a minority group is as old as society.

Throughout the ages groups have been picked on, singled out (‘othered’) and marginalized, stigmatized for their differences, invariably to deflect attention from some other flaw in society.

Licensed firearm owners have long been the subject of this ‘othering’ process. A process which has been used relentlessly and with great effect by the news media, who have without analysis or rationale leapt on the bandwagon initially inspired by our central government.

Let’s go back three years or so, to the immediate aftermath of the mass-murders in Christchurch on the dreadful day in March 2019. Within days, our Prime Minister was quoted as saying, “…the gun lobby will not dilute the planned crackdown on firearms following the Christchurch mosque massacre…’There is resolve and Cabinet has already made its decisions’, she said at Parliament yesterday.” (Young, 2019, p. 3).

Within 24 hours of the massacre, an MP was heard to indicate that the government had to be seen to do something, adding that whatever it did would not prevent another such incident.

The government duly did – it rapidly enacted a ban on centrefire semi-automatic rifles, and magazines with a capacity of more than ten cartridges. In so doing, it included a multitude of 19th century pump, lever, semi-auto and even a few bolt action rimfire rifles whose magazine capacity exceeded 10, and also included a handful of historic century- old centrefire rifles too.

Of course, as is common for such sweeping laws, only the law abiding complied. Gang leaders indicated they would not comply, despite threats from the then Minister of Police, “Hand in MSSAs or face jail….” (Cheng, 2019a), quoting the Police Minister).

Guilt by association is what this is called, and the fact that a licensed firearm owner was convicted for the mass murders enabled the news media to, without any justification at all, happily link all licensed firearm owners with crime, violence and gangs.

Ask yourself, where have you seen a newspaper article or heard or watched a news story about firearm-armed violence, where the storyline indicated that an unlicensed firearm user committed the offence?

This tends to link all firearm users (I am referring to those licensed for firearm ownership) with all kinds of mayhem involving firearms).

It’s time it stopped!

references below:

Cheng, D. (2019a), “Hand in MSSAs or face jail”. Otago Daily Times, 02/04/2019, (pp. 1 & 4). Forsyth, C.I.H., (2022), Firearms in the New Zealand community: A study of place, socio-economic considerations and urban-rural contrasts. PhD thesis (in preparation).

Young, A. (2019), “Swift gun reform justified; tackling social media a long haul”. Week in Politics. Opinion, in Otago Daily Times, 06 April 2019, p. 27

Police Administration Delays are Compromising Business

Police poor administration is jeopardizing legitimate business people.

Here in his own words is a story from a Firearms Dealer typical of the many complaints we are receiving says Neville Dodd, President of the Sporting Shooters Association.

The licence for this year, applied for back in August 2021, arrived in June 2022….. Ten months….for an annual licence…. the mind boggles.
Surely they can do better than this?

It used to take six weeks max before the government made all the rule changes…..

The bottleneck seems to be the dearth of vetting personnel, most of them having been dismissed it seems. The record keepers in Kapiti seem to be very efficient I have to say, but that avails us nothing if it takes months for vetters to fit you in, and now that ALL referees are re-interviewed every year, that makes it all the worse.

We live, nevertheless, in hope.”

Firearm Registry- Political, Not a Pragmatic One?

Opinion by Chaz Forsyth


The value of a registry as a crime prevention and crime solving tool has repeatedly been advanced by its supporters..  The police on many occasions before the recent law changes have argued that a registry is not necessary for their operations, so the decision to embark upon a registry seems to be political, not a pragmatic one.  The late Sir Thomas Thorp qualified his support for a firearm register by noting that “…unless a compliance rate of not less than 90 percent can be achieved, the benefits derived from registration would be significantly reduced” (Thorp, 1997, p. 184).

Licensed firearm owners already offend if they illegally possess or sell firearms

Five offences exist in law for illegally supplying or possessing firearms.  These attract penalties of up to two years of imprisonment or fines of up to $15,000.

Limited crime prevention potential of full firearm registration

The police, in 1996, noted in their evidence-in-chief to the Thorp Review (1997) of firearms that there was little evidence that universal registration provided any real benefits unless it was accompanied by regular checks every 2-3 years on the firearms held by every firearm owner.

The police also noted that, “…there is little evidence that a registration system would be instrumental either in solving serious crime involving firearms or preventing them.  The majority of firearms used in serious crime do not belong to the offender and are usually stolen, unlawfully in their possession or supplied by other than a licensed owner.

Proponents for this measure also overlook the fact that although registration of motor vehicles for road use is near-universal, more than 20,000 motor vehicles are stolen annually, some of which undoubtedly feature in reported offending (Otago Daily Times 30 April 2022).  This is for a motor vehicle fleet of some 4.5 million vehicles.  Compared to firearms (for which an estimated 1.2 million are in private ownership in New Zealand), the annual total reported stolen is approximately 1,000, testament surely to the greater security afforded these items?

Just what we want – another waste of taxpayer’s money!


Otago Daily Times (2022), “Security roller door didn’t stop latest ram-raid”, Otago Daily Times, 30 April 2022.

Thorp, T.M. (1997) Review of Firearms Control in New Zealand – Report of an Independent Inquiry Commissioned by the Minister of Police.  Wellington, New Zealand: GP Print. (281 pp.).