Federated Farmers Remains Committed to Working with Government on Firearms
Federated Farmers will continue to work with the Government on firearms reform as the Arms Amendment Bill becomes law.
"Because of the urgency and immense public pressure surrounding the issue, it was a difficult task for the Government to
give fair consideration to all aspects of when and why firearms are needed in rural New Zealand," Feds Rural Security
Spokesperson Miles Anderson says.
"We are very pleased that farmers and those who undertake pest control on farms are still going to have access to
semiautomatic rimfire rifles, such as the .22 long rifle, and semiautomatic shotguns with limited magazine capacity.
These firearms are essential for the control of small, mobile pest species often found in groups (such as rabbits,
hares, possums, Canada geese) where quick follow-up shots are important for the efficient and humane destruction of
"Our member survey showed that half of the 3,400 respondents own a semi-automatic shotgun or rimfire rifle, clearly
showing what an important pest control tool these are on farm."
"When it comes to dealing with the common agricultural pests of rabbits, hares and possums,.22 rifles and shotguns are
what most farmers rely on," says Anderson.
Federated Farmers is disappointed that the Government will not consider an exemption to those farmers who can display a
genuine need for centrefire semi-automatic rifles for pest control. Across the five million hectares of privately farmed
high and hill country in New Zealand, some properties have to deal with huge populations of large animal pests such as
feral goats, feral pigs, wallabies, deer and tahr. Others are faced with culling large mobs of Canada geese.
Efficiently controlling these pests in large numbers requires the use of semi-automatic firearms with large magazine
capacity. Although not allowing the use of these specialised firearms by a select number of farmers, we were pleased
that the Bill was amended to allow their use on private property by professional pest control contractors. It was also
amended to allow the control of Canada geese with these firearms, which are not classified as a pest under any current
Federated Farmers is concerned that even these amendments will disadvantage landowners who are faced with these pests in
"Instead of doing the pest control themselves as part of their farming business, as many have done for decades, farmers
will instead have to rely on contractors and all of the risks and costs that come with outsourcing an important task of
this type," Anderson says.
"Federated Farmers will continue to advocate that rural landowners who can display a genuine need to use these firearms
as part of their business should be eligible to apply for an exemption, just like any other professional firearms user
in the Bill."
Feds will now look to work with the Government on the implementation of the amended Act, including the buy-back of
firearms and parts which have become prohibited.
"The surrender and destruction of firearms that don’t meet the new controls will be disappointing to many farmers, and
other firearms users. But this is a vital step to ensure that we’re never witness to this kind of tragedy in New Zealand