New gun laws in place by 2026: govt

Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee. Photo: RNZ
Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee. Photo: RNZ
The government will rewrite the country's gun laws as part of its planned firearms reforms.

Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee said the Arms Act had been in place for over 40 years, and would be rewritten by 2026.

"It has been amended several times - in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated and complicated requirements that unfairly target licenced firearms owners, often with no clear benefit to public safety," McKee said.

"It is time we take a good look at the whole system and make the necessary changes to ensure that it is fit for purpose for New Zealand today and into the future. We need to find simple, workable solutions that deliver tangible safety outcomes for New Zealand communities."

McKee said the government would aim to pass the law changes by the end of its current term. She said rewriting the act would modernise the law "so that it provides for greater public safety, reflects best regulatory practice, and is fit for purpose".

"It provides a unique opportunity to take a systematic and considered approach to our laws, in a way that hasn't been done in over 40 years. Rather than the rushed 'government-knows-best' approach that we have seen in the past, we will be consulting with New Zealanders to allow their views to be heard."

McKee said the firearms registry would be reviewed and the Firearms Safety Authority would be transferred from police to another government department.

She said the first two phases of the firearms reforms were under way, including strengthening firearms prohibition orders and changes to shooting club regulations.