Dear Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa,
I am seeking individual input from every Iwi across the nation on an issue that impacts nearly 250,000 New Zealanders, including tangata whenua. The topic I wish to discuss is the ongoing ‘consultation’ process by New Zealand Police, for the ‘Arms Regulations Review of Fees 2022.’ The proposed fee increases, in the opinion of SSANZ and many others, would make firearms ownership cost-prohibitive, amid a cost-of-living crisis. I understand that activities such as hunting have not only cultural significance to Māori via the concept of kaitiakitanga, but in some cases, are done for subsistence due to economic factors faced by individuals and communities. I believe that the costly proposals submitted by New Zealand Police will compromise the ability of Iwi to manage pests on their land and expect any notable increase in costs incurred by commercial pest controllers to be passed onto Iwi who may not be able to bear that cost. I also consider that police have not been open and transparent in their methods of determining full costs, for the services provided, and failed to follow guidance provided by the Auditor General by drip feeding crucial information late into the consultation period. This brings into doubt the validity of the consultation with affected parties.
I am now undertaking research into whether the Consultation document published by Police is inconsistent with their obligations to consult openly with all affected parties, which is where my inquiry becomes directly relevant to you.
I would like to understand the following:
1) Does your organisation believe that the proposals in the consultation document are relevant to your Iwi?
2) Was your Iwi aware of such proposals, or the fact there was a public consultation period where your organisation and your people can submit on proposals raised in the consultation document?
3) Did New Zealand Police proactively reach out to make sure your organisation was aware that consultation has started?
4) Does your organisation hold a reasonable expectation that the Crown and its entities should make an effort to notify Iwi representatives if issues that impact Iwi are brought up during consultation?
5) In this case, do you feel the Crown acted in the spirit of te Tiriti o Waitangi?
6) Is the way your Iwi has been treated in this case reflective of your organisation’s experience within the wider consultation process for Arms Act regulations to date?
7) Will (or has) your organisation made a submission?
8) Do you agree with the COLFO submission guide, if not, why not?
9) Will your organisation make your members aware of the consultation process?
I am eager to hear your perspective on this situation, any data produced, or statements made as answers to the above questions will be anonymized before being utilized in any public medium to protect the identity of those organisations who respond to this email. I invite Iwi to see SSANZ as a friend and ally who can always be trusted to have an effective and robust discussion on issues that impact firearms owners in the community. I recommend that your organisation take the time to read each of the attached documents, the police consultation page, and seek independent legal advice if needed. I am more than happy to schedule a phone call or Zoom meeting with myself if you have any questions, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.