Farmers say they are being loaded with more responsibility to look after the native biodiversity on their properties than ever before, and at the same time the Government is taking away one of the tools necessary to do so

Farmers say they are being loaded with more responsibility to look after the native biodiversity on their properties than ever before, and at the same time the Government is taking away one of the tools necessary to do so

The following Statement has been received from Federated Farmers.

Unless further changes are made to the Arms Amendment Bill, pests will be the winners and the environment will be the losers.

Federated Farmers says the Government has failed to deliver on its commitment to farmers and other major landowners that they would continue to have access to the firearms they need for effective animal pest control.

"Labour has the opportunity to fix the Bill over the next few days - otherwise Federated Farmers will feel duped by this process," Feds Rural Security spokesperson Miles Anderson says.

As the Select Committee reported back yesterday, landowners with significant pest problems will no longer have access to one of the tools they need to effectively manage their land. Farmers will have to rely on contractors who are unlikely to be available when required. Pests don’t wait around for contractors to turn up.

"The whole Select Committee has shown both a lack of trust and a complete lack of understanding of the needs of the rural sector on this issue,‘’ Anderson says. ‘’We have publicly backed the Government on this important issue from day one, based on the need to both protect public safety and ensure continuing access to the appropriate firearms for those who have demonstrated a genuine need.

"There are 5 million hectares of  privately owned high and hill country in New Zealand. What these landowners have been left with is the equivalent of painting the Auckland harbour bridge with a toothbrush.

"Where were the Agriculture, Biosecurity, Forestry, Conservation and Land Information Ministers when common sense was needed around this important issue?’’

The Select Committee considers that Department of Conservation and Regional Councils staff can be trusted with these firearms, but a small number of carefully vetted private landowners cannot, Anderson says.

‘’Our farmers would like an explanation why a junior DoC field staffer on freely accessible public land is somehow safer with these firearms than a landowner on thousands of hectares of a back-country station with strictly controlled access.’’

Farmers are being told to use contractors instead of doing it themselves. Where are these contractors going to come from?

"Will they be available at 10pm on a frozen winter’s night to shoot wallabies off a forage crop? Or up at 5am waiting for a mob of pasture-wrecking pigs? And if they are, how much will they expect to get paid to do it? By the time the contractors arrive the pests will have moved on."

Instead of a limited number of rural landholders having these firearms locked away in a safe on the property where they will be used, we are being told that having people travelling the country with these firearms in their vehicles, staying in temporary accommodation with no firearms security, is a safer option.

"It is completely illogical," Anderson says.

Farmers and landowners are being loaded with more responsibility to look after the native biodiversity on their properties than ever before, and at the same time the Government is taking away one of the tools necessary to do so.

"We were astonished that the Department of Conservation that constantly advocates for conservation on private land appears to have simply looked after themselves when it comes to controlling pests that threaten New Zealand biodiversity," says Mr Anderson.

All Federated Farmers is asking is that rural landowners who can demonstrate a genuine need to use these firearms as part of their business be eligible to apply for an exemption, just as provided for other professional firearms users in the Bill. None of the changes we seek undermine public safety.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Vague press release. Doesn't say what kind(s) of guns they want to be able to continue to use.

A link to the draft bill would be good too.

Seconded. Contractors and others simply have none of the local knowledge - terrain, obstacles, which fence runs where, which creeks are in flood, which trees are OK for ground anchors when the ute gets sideways in the ditch, which track has a nasty drop-out to avoid, and so on.

So a simple instruction to family or trusted local workers like "the pigs are in the top of the north-west back 40, watch #3 crick because it's a bit swampy, make sure you re-hook the electric fence on the third gate, go get 'em" will transmogrify for contractors into:

  • An Orientation/Induction/Initiation session
  • a screed of maps or transfer of GPS waypoints
  • an Elfin Safety briefing
  • a radio check
  • a Certificates Check
  • before the crew sets forth. And mirabile dictu, an hour has passed.

    As have them pigs.

    And the farmer is still gonna haveta fire up the JD at 0200, and haul the hopeless bunch out of Crick#3....

    And pay their bill, at $150/hr/person plus disbursements......including stuck-in-the-crick time....

Is that last paragraph correct, will there be no option for individuals to apply for specific licenses for controled guns.
Confusing article lacking facts, or am I just confused?
Ok read some more elsewhere. So what are "specialised businesses approved by police" and why cant farmers be one?

Perhaps Miles Anderson could tell us the number of times he's shot more than 3 or 4 pigs from a mob. I wager it's seldom. Given how quickly these very smart critters bolt once you've nailed one or two of their number and that most of the time they keep reasonably close to cover, the argument for a semi auto with a high capacity magazine fails under most pig shooting scenarios. While bolt action rifles are a bit slower than semi autos ( although WW1 tommies fooled the Germans into thinking they were firing automatic weapons, so fast was the firing rate they could achieve with practice on the old SMLE .303 bolt action rifle) the difference in cycle rate on farms is seldom material, especially in tight scrubby country which is the most favoured habitat of pigs. My experience is that most famers will have a veteran .308 or similar which they mostly use to pick off single pigs, occasionally a couple, and would seldom need more than a few shots at a time. On goats a semi can be useful in open country but a planned strategy requiring a little more effort will achieve adequate control with bolt action weapons. Goats are reasonably predictable in that you'll find them around the same spot provided they are not bombed up too regularly so a periodic thinning will usually do the trick. My view is that heavy infestations of Wallabies are the only category of pest that justify centre fire semis and if the numbers are that high an amateur with an AR is not going to get on top of it, a professional is required.

I quite agree. His description of contractors getting lost, having trouble with electric fences and tipping over their vehicles is rubbish. Its a matter of convenience and not being able to have one of these weopons will be inconvenient nothing more. One has to ask what did these people use before military style weapons arrived on the scene. Anderson has completely over stated the case and doesn't speak for the majority of farmers I know.

Conservation minister Sage is on tonights news stating authoritatively that 'farmers and others don't need semi automatic weapons to control rabbits'. Which is bollocks as they are definitely required to control small game pests. Sage is either muddled, doesn't know what she is talking about because she's not across the detail in her portfolio or there has been a change of government policy and small calibre semi automatic weapons will now also be banned.

As I understand it semi auto .22 rifles will be allowed. That’s all you need for small game.

Not 22 rifles with tube magazines as these take more than 10 rounds, despite being slow to load and a 2 handed job. My 11 shot tube magazine Norinco is being confiscated and will be replaced with a 10 shot Ruger 10/22 with a detachable mag thrust is much faster to reload.

So "military style"per press release has now morphed into all semi autos? Nice bait and switch by the powers that be.

Federated farmers rushed to support a bill that no one had time to analyze. They also made statements along the lines of farmers don't need semi autos. Well its too late now, the bill is rushed through and it bans way more than you thought (No-ones really sure whats banned or not, certainly the politicians have no idea). Sorry farmers but this is why you should have supported Democratic process instead of kneejerk politics and the anti gun lobby taking advantage of a crisis.
And farmers are going to like the second round of gun reform even less because its going to get a lot more expensive to have firearms with a registry and piles of compliance costs. You reap what you sow.

I can foresee more uncontrolled shoots: a bunch of amateurs with old guns, split bunch makes their way up each side of the gully where the game camps out, the animules finally break cover in a mad rush, a whole lotta wild shots ring out, a coupla animules and one shooter are winged, and the rest of the mob high-tails it to the next patch of scrub to rest and reproduce.

Because what farmer is gonna pay 'approved contractors' $1-2K per person per day plus disbursements to go do this?

The picture of that is quite funny. Takes me back to the Hilly Billy comic strips of my childhood. Trouble is it would be funny if it wasn’t true. There are enough incidents every season under the control of duck shooting regs, where oafs and other idiots get over excited. It is a problem in articles like this when advocates resort to extreme situations in order to reinforce an argument that should be able to stand on its own logic. On the other hand it is just as much a problem, when law makers sit in rooms without windows, and arrive at illogical, unnecessary and impractical laws. Seems to be getting harder and harder these days to establish sensible working solutions politically.