Police Minister Stuart Nash admits he got it wrong when he announced the second tranche of gun law reform yesterday, while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has blamed officials.

During yesterday's post-Cabinet press conference, Nash and Ardern repeatedly said that the new rules would prevent anyone except a New Zealand citizen from being granted a firearms licence.

But the policy actually only prevents licences being granted to visitors, meaning people in New Zealand for less than a year.

Citizens, residents and Australians living in New Zealand will be able to apply for a licence.


"I made a mistake," Nash said this morning.

"I said yesterday that you had to be a citizen to have a licence. That's not correct.

"If you're coming into this country on a visitor's permit, you'll have to get a special licence, but you'll not be able to purchase a firearm. But if you are resident in this country, you'll be able to apply for a firearms licence."

Ardern was wrong when she said yesterday that the man accused of the March 15 mosque shootings, an Australian citizen, would not have been eligible for a firearms licence under the new rules.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Police Minister Stuart Nash announcing additional gun law reforms during the post-Cabinet press conference at Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Police Minister Stuart Nash announcing additional gun law reforms during the post-Cabinet press conference at Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell

This morning she said she had been misinformed by officials.

"I asked a direct question yesterday of officials around that and unfortunately got given the wrong advice."

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Focus Live: Government wants gun register, ban on visitors buying weapons

The reforms include a national gun register for every firearm and firearms licence holder, warning flags that would be grounds for police to revoke a licence and confiscate guns, requiring a firearms licence to buy ammunition, and halving the lifetime of licences from 10 years to five years.

They have been welcomed by the Police Association and Gun Control NZ, but the national register has been questioned as costly and impractical by the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners, Federated Farmers, and the Game Animal Council.


Council chairman Don Hammond said the changes could be unfair on firearms owners.

"There is no reason for law-abiding hunters to be unreasonably inconvenienced by legislative changes of dubious benefit and that do not make New Zealand safer."

National Party leader Simon Bridges said he would wait to see the detail of the reforms until the party decided whether to support it.

But he said the Government was adding costs and compliance to law-abiding people who owned firearms legally, while taking little action on gangs.

"There is zero detail on this and it seems, if you look at that post-Cabinet press conference yesterday, they weren't even across it," Bridges said.

The National Party wanted firearms prohibition orders to be included in the gun law reforms that were passed in April, but Nash said that the orders would be part of a consultation document later this year.

A person who is subject to an order would not be allowed to have a firearm or firearm part.

Bridges said that a national register had not worked overseas, but Ardern and Nash have said that New Zealand would not follow the Canadian experience, where the costs blew out to $1 billion before it was scrapped, except in Quebec.

The Government expected that the cost of implementing the reforms would be about $52 million over 10 years.

The bill will have a three-month select committee process where the public will be invited to make submissions, and is expected be in force by next year.