Federated Farmers rural security spokesman Miles Anderson didn't mince words when he criticised pest control recommendations in the Arms Amendment Bill this week.

As the bill would ban military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles, the select committee suggested farmers could hire a specialised business, vetted by police, to tackle on-farm pest management.

In a statement released this week, Anderson said the bill's recommendations were impractical for rural life and would eventually lead to an increase in pests.

"There is 5 million hectares of privately-owned high and hill country in New Zealand. What these land owners have been left with is the equivalent of painting the Auckland harbour bridge with a toothbrush," he said.


"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?"

The new gun laws explained.
The new gun laws explained.

Although he is critical some aspects of the bill, Anderson told The Country's Jamie Mackay that Federated Farmers supported the bulk of the gun law changes in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks.

"I guess what we were lobbying for ... was the ability for those that have a genuine need - and we're talking [about] hundreds, not thousands of people ... that have major pest issues on their properties."

"They're holding the tide back for the rest of us to be fair. They're dealing with large, vast numbers of animals and the tool that was most effective for them has been effectively taken out of the tool box."

Listen below:

Yesterday on The Country, Jamie Mackay's interview with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern over the Arms Amendment Bill created so much feedback from listeners that he decided to talk to share a comment with Anderson on today's show.

"Farmers need tools for pest control! I've got 700 acres to protect. This Autumn I've got 150 acres of new grass and in spring 75 acres in chicory & maize. Canadian Geese arrive in mobs of 100-400 and graze at will. Having a large calibre semi auto means I can have meaningful (repeatable) hitting power and move them on from over 1000m away. Try that with a shotgun or .22. The idea that I would pay some Rambo type to control pests while my staff and animals are constantly moving around the property is impossible. It would be a Work, Health & Safety nightmare. Yes something had to change after March 15th but let me protect my livelihood. Once again another cost for farmers." - Nathan

Federated Farmers managed to get Canadian Geese classified as a pest species and "it's going to be far more challenging now that it has been in the past," to deal with them said Anderson.

"It's just that in the case of this particular farmer, they [Canadian Geese] were the examples that we were giving as to why there should be an exemption."


"We've managed to at least retain the use of the five shot semi-automatic shotgun and the smaller calibre firearms, so we did have some wins I guess."

Canadian Geese are now classified as a pest species. Photo / David Haxton
Canadian Geese are now classified as a pest species. Photo / David Haxton

Mackay asked what's wrong with using a .22 calibre or a five shot shotgun.

"For the vast majority of us it's perfectly fine. There's just a small number of farmers who are looking after a vast area of land who will struggle to control the pests that they have been controlling in the past."

Another concern raised by Mackay was that exceptions in any law can result in people taking advantage.

"There are going to be far more stringent controls anyhow and I believe there would be ways around that," said Anderson.

"For example, the regional council would be able to perhaps be a referee and explain to the police that this particular person does have pest issues on their property."

"However, that's all moot now. The law's the law now so we're working ... with the police and government to make sure the transition works well."