A plan which saw NZDF marking automatic rifle magazines has been rejected even though the military lost track of more than a thousand of the weapons' parts.
It is also unclear whether the military has ever told police that it lost so many of the magazines, with a spokesman for NZDF saying there was "no requirement" to do so prior to new arms laws passed by Parliament after the Christchurch terror attack.
There were 125 magazines found to be missing from one unit in 2019 with the disappearance becoming the focus of a Court of Inquiry last year. During the Court of Inquiry, evidence was heard of another 1470 that had also been lost. Of that batch, 413 magazines have since been recovered.
The magazines hold 30 bullets and were for use with NZDF's MARS-L infantry rifle which is in use across the services.
The inquiry found there were "exceptionally poor" practices for tracking what was held or issued by the "under-resourced" and inexperienced unit that issued the 125 magazines. In relation to the 1470 missing magazines, the inquiry did not seek further information as it was outside the purposes for which it was established.
The inquiry last year reached the same conclusion as a Lieutenant Colonel made in 2019 when the military first realised it had a problem with missing rifle magazines.
Both the inquiry and the highly-ranked officer endorsed marking the magazines to "help NZ Police identify NZDF magazines that have made their way into general circulation".
It was also said that making the markings particular to the unit that had the magazines would "significantly reduce unit losses of magazines".
However, a spokesman for NZDF said "there was no legal requirement to mark the magazines" and it would not begin doing so.
He said NZDF had "tens of thousands of magazines and marking them would be costly and time-consuming".
"It also does not/would not necessarily prevent loss of magazines as this is mitigated through strengthening of management practices."
The spokesman said improved accounting of magazines being issued from stores and a switch to providing magazines "on a case-by-case basis" was expected to reduce losses.
The Herald had asked NZDF if police had been told about the missing magazines. The spokesman - in an emailed statement - said: "NZ Police were not notified of the missing magazines prior to the Arms Legislation Act (2020) as it was not a requirement."
It went on to say: "However since the introduction of the new Act a plan is in place for Police to be informed of any missing material."
The Herald also asked if NZDF was concerned the magazines allowed people to expand the capability of some rifles as the attacker in Christchurch did. NZDF said it had no comment and pointed to changes in firearm laws after the terror attack.
The spokesman said that the magazines had been issued directly to personnel prior to the law changes and were not centrally accounted for.
It meant it was unclear if the 1057 magazines still missing from the batch of 1470 recorded as missing might not actually be lost but could be "accounting errors".
"NZDF has since implemented more stringent security measures for magazines which are no longer issued to individuals unless required to use them 'in the course of their duties'.
"Outside of issue, magazines are held in a secure location, issued for a specific task and accounted for on return."