Disregarding the social and economic effects of the proposed water reforms is a recipe for disaster, warns Federated Farmers Waikato president Andrew McGiven.
Feds rural security spokesman Miles Anderson anticipates support for many aspects of the changes, especially tighter controls on firearms ownership and licensing.
“When firearms are used irresponsibly or illegally in New Zealand it is often farmers who suffer the consequences in the theft of livestock, poaching of wild animals or the risks of dangerous behaviour. Hopefully some of these proposed changes will help to prevent that,” Anderson says.
But he says the registration of firearms is a contentious issue. Feds has previously opposed compulsory registration of all firearms because of complexity and cost, and questionable safety benefits and likely success.
“We haven’t had a firearms register in NZ for almost 40 years.” A new register will cost plenty -- economically and socially, he said.
“We are very interested in how the police propose to practically manage common activities such as the loaning of firearms between two licensed individuals.”
But Anderson says Feds will consult its members on the whole range of amendments before submitting.
“We are pleased to see that this time there is a reasonable consultation period. This is a very important issue for farmers and we need to get it right.”
Anderson says Feds will also comment on some of the earlier changes to firearms laws. He says that since the initial changes in April the current pest management criteria have proven unworkable for farmers and land managers who still need to use semi-automatic centrefire rifles.
“Pest animals can be found in very high numbers on some private land and the right tool is needed to [kill] them humanely and effectively,” Anderson says.
“Continued access to these firearms under strict controls is essential for both our primary industries and indigenous biodiversity.
“We will use the second round of consultation to revisit this important issue with the select committee.”