Snapshot of new laws and regulations

4 Dec 20

Tougher firearms laws in force

The Arms Legislation Act 2020 (Act) has been in force since receiving Royal Assent on 24 June 2020. This Act introduces stricter controls on the use and possession of firearms.

Some key changes include:

  • the creation of a firearms registry that traces firearms in legal circulation, with licence holders required to update the registry as they buy and sell guns;
  • the prohibition of ‘high-risk’ firearms, which include certain semi-automatic firearms and pump-action shotguns;
  • the term of firearms licences for all first time holders being reduced from ten years to five years;
  • members of the agricultural sector will be able to apply for endorsements to use prohibited firearms for pest control. The terms of such licences will be shorter and will need to be renewed prior to expiry;
  • increased penalties for offending, including a two year jail sentence and a fine of up to $20,000.

Further changes will be introduced over the next three years, including new rules determining who is a ‘fit and proper’ person to possess firearms, new requirements for shooting clubs, and the requirement for a licence to sell ammunition. The design of the registry and the suitability of the offence provisions will also be under review in this period.

New Rules for the Export of Livestock

In late September, Cabinet issued an absolute prohibition on livestock shipments from New Zealand until 23 October 2020 following the sinking of a vessel off the coast of Japan in which forty-two New Zealanders lost their lives. A conditional prohibition will remain in force until 30 November 2020.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has also introduced a number of new requirements for the safe transport of livestock by sea following an independent review into the animal welfare assurances MPI receives from livestock exporters.

The following requirements will apply for the remainder of the conditional prohibition period:

  • the restriction of stock density to 90% of current thresholds;
  • inspections carried out by Maritime New Zealand of carrier ships entering New Zealand to transport livestock;
  • increased reporting requirements, including daily veterinary reports during trips; and
  • increased minimum fodder requirements, to ensure at least 20% of additional feed is available in the event of unplanned delays at sea.

Further long-term changes are under consideration by MPI, including requiring more information in Animal Welfare Export Certificate applications. It remains to be seen whether these changes will become permanent, with the new government yet to be briefed by MPI.


This article was included in our 3rd edition of Rural. which you can read here.

For more information contact:

Luke Gordon