by Nicole McKee, Spokesperson

Fair and Reasonable Campaign

Last night I met with the lawyers again to discuss what Parliament is doing on the Arms Legislation Bill and our court case against Stuart Nash and the Government.

This Court case is our one chance to have Stuart Nash and Jacinda Ardern’s unfair decisions reviewed by the Courts before the election.

Now that the Parliamentary vote is so tight, the case is even more important to demonstrate to New Zealanders why what the Government is doing is wrong.

I know a lot of people have held off contributing to the cause until we could demonstrate that we had a good case, and a court date.  That time is right now, so I am writing to ask you to contribute to our legal fighting fund.

The judicial review is designed to enlist NZ First, National, and ACT, in reinstating what was once unchallenged principle: that taking away property rights and creating serious punishment overnight, is wrong. NZ First is the key.

Because the Select Committee heard and found nothing to justify most of this second instalment, there is no reason why NZ First can’t tell their Cabinet colleagues they just won’t allow last year’s tragedy in Christchurch to be exploited. NZ First knows that the Bill attacks lawful firearms users, not criminals. They know the Bill has scarcely a single provision relevant to stopping terrorists or other criminal shooters (whether mad or bad).

But turning around a political juggernaut is hard. Politicians in a democracy respond to majority opinion. And as you’ve seen over the last eight months, we have been working furiously to ensure the public can look behind the slogans they heard at a vulnerable time last year.  

So to win, we have to ensure there is enough media and public understanding of the facts so that (1): NZ First blocks the ‘own goal’ aspects of the Bill, and (2) National also feel confident of enough public understanding to agree with (and support) any NZ First-led initiative.

Our Court case is an essential part of the campaign to show how wrong the Police advice has been, and how unprincipled. Media and other opinion leaders can start with prejudice, but they trust courts to be objective.

In Court for two days starting May 4

We have just been given the Court timetable: two days starting on 4 May at the High Court in Wellington (the Monday and Tuesday immediately following duck shooting opening weekend).

We have a strong case. We’ve chosen to take on the government on the set of facts where Stuart Nash and Jacinda Ardern are at their weakest. Our QC is getting ready to represent us.  But we still need your help to get us to the fundraising target so we can put up the best possible case.

We’ve asked the Court to look at the Government’s process in the banning of ammo. Because their ammo definitions have absolutely nothing to do with safety. Stuart Nash just applied Police prejudices, unsupported by research or disciplined risk assessments.

Worse, they denied compensation completely, as if people with banned ammo became wrong-doers overnight.

So we are focused on this aspect, as our lawyers are confident that this route is the best demonstration of the Government’s lack of reason in poor processes by the Minister and the Police. But many of the principles and objections apply to the Government’s approach in other areas.

Before the hearing, our team needs to finish gathering our evidence – including from international experts. We want to lodge affidavits from them, reply to the Government’s evidence, make written legal submissions and cross submissions.  All of those steps churn time and resources. We cannot let the Government burn us off, that is why I am asking for your support right now.

We are asking the court to recognise that a Minister without good reason to know it would make people safer, should get told to start again, and next time to offer fair compensation, or explain why not.

While the lawyers are heavily discounting their usual fees, that fact is the Government is ensuring that this process isn’t cheap.

Will you make a contribution to the firearm owners’ fighting fund, so we can take on Stuart Nash’s taxpayer-funded legal team?

To put our best foot forward, we need to raise at least $41,500 to ensure we get a valuable precedent that everyone remembers, next time they want to scapegoat ordinary people instead of targeting criminals.

The Government’s approach was designed to create a ‘them and us’ climate in New Zealand – to exploit an opportunity to create fear of firearms and of firearm owners. Winning this case makes it easier for sensible, decent people, who know little of firearms, to approve of their MPs cutting back on the toxic stuff in the Bill. It makes it more respectable to sympathise with our cause. Winning the case should get, at a minimum, a Judge to tell the Government to go back to the drawing board, at least on the ammo decisions.

And that is all part of the bigger, unending, campaign to ensure that for the foreseeable future, politicians are not tempted to think it will be easy to win votes by vilifying lawful firearms users.

Winning this case is a vital part of the strategy to cement in place a widespread Wellington understanding that lying about firearms users will cost more, politically, than it is worth. Because we will not lie down and take it. We will make the truth known. Please support this Court case, to make that happen.

p.s. The legal case is just one of the strategies we are implementing to defeat the Government and the proposed new bans.