Semi-automatic firearms ban extends to exports

The ban on certain semi-automatic weapons, magazines and parts that has come into effect today will also extend to most exports of them, to prevent them being used overseas in human rights abuses or to undermine security, Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Winston Peters has announced.

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The new gun law, in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack, went through Parliament at lightning speed. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Peters says from today, April 12, the criteria for the export of "strategic goods" will change.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which is responsible for New Zealand’s export control regime for weapons, is likely to decline permits for the export of prohibited semi-automatic firearms, magazines and parts except in certain limited circumstances, he said in a statement this afternoon.

"It will also no longer be permissible for weapons that are banned here to be imported for the purpose of re-export," Mr Peters said.

MFAT will consider applications for exports by people who are permitted to possess such items under the new legislation, who include dealers, collectors and approved cullers, he said.

"Approval is not automatic, and applications will be considered against the assessment criteria, which include the risk that the exported item could be used in human rights abuses, undermine peace and security, or be prejudicial to New Zealand’s international relations," the minister said.

"There will be transitional arrangements to align with the new legislation, including for dealers seeking to return stock to suppliers, items that are stuck at the border because they are now prohibited, personal transfers by people leaving the country, and certain items traded by existing manufacturers and suppliers," he said.  

"These changes are essential to ensure that weapons that are prohibited in New Zealand are not exported to other countries where they would pose a similar risk," Mr Peters said.

Full details of the changes and transitional arrangements can be found on the MFAT website.