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Committee recommends Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Bill

11 December 2019

Parliament's Regulations Review Committee has reported on the Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Bill (No 4) and recommends it be passed without amendment. The bill is intended to confirm certain subordinate legislation that would be revoked at specified dates unless confirmed by an Act of parliament. In passing this bill, the House would approve the instruments in the bill, allowing them to continue in force.

The committee invited and considered seven submissions from government departments and heard oral evidence from the NZ Police.

All submitters considered confirmation necessary to prevent the instruments from being automatically revoked on their statutory deadlines.

Arms (Prohibited Ammunition) Order 2019

Six individuals raised concerns about the Arms (Prohibited Ammunition) Order 2019. The Committee is treating these as a complaint under Standing Order 320, and to support consideration of the Order, they heard oral evidence from the NZ Police. Clause 9 of the bill confirms the Arms (Prohibited Ammunition) Order, made under section 74A (e) of the Arms Act 1983.

The Order prohibits 10 categories of ammunition. The Police said that the ammunition should be prohibited because it is military style and therefore presents an increased risk of harm and has very little legitimate civilian use.

The complainants disagreed with the prohibition of tracer ammunition and enhanced penetration ammunition. The maintained that military-style ammunition is not necessarily dangerous for civilian use, there are a number of legitimate uses for it and it is a cheap and effective choice for shooting small pests.

The Police told the committee that ammunition that was designed and manufactured for a military purpose generally creates more harm than non-military ammunition. In determining what ammunition should be prohibited, they balanced civilian purposes against the harm that can be caused by the ammunition.

The complainants do not think that tracer ammunition should be prohibited because being able to observe the trajectory of ammunition is not a safety concern. The complainants also argued that the prohibition of tracer ammunition as described in the Order unintentionally bans “cold tracer” ammunition and glow-in-the-dark airsoft pellets and paint balls, which are not a safety concern or a fire hazard.

The Police informed the committee that tracer ammunition is potentially lethal in some situations.

The complainants do not think that enhanced-penetration ammunition should be prohibited because this ammunition passes through a target, rather than exploding on impact, making it less lethal in some circumstances.

Then Police said that enhanced-penetration ammunition is designed to penetrate body protection and Police officers wearing body armour could be killed by this ammunition.

After thoroughly examining the Arms (Prohibited Ammunition) Order 2019 the Committee says it is satisfied that confirmation of the Order is warranted.

The committee says it considers that the use of the term “military-style” to explain prohibited ammunition is not helpful. It would be more appropriate to describe the function of the ammunition and why this results in a need for that category to be prohibited.

Last updated on the 11th December 2019