Consultation: Arms Regulations Review of Fees 2022

New Zealand Police is inviting public submissions on proposed fee changes for firearms licences and endorsements.

What are we consulting on?

We are consulting on proposals for firearms fees to contribute to an arms regulatory system that keeps us all safe. A greater contribution from licence holders is being sought.

Proposals cover changes to current fees for firearms licences, dealer’s licences, visitor licences and licence endorsements, and the setting of new fees where no fee has been previously set.

The scope of the consultation includes:

  • fee for enrolment in the firearms safety course,
  • licence fees (firearms licences (5-year and 10-year licence), dealer’s licences, dealer museum curator licence and visitor licences),
  • fees for endorsements on dealer’s licences including dealer museum curators and dealer employees,
  • fees for endorsements on firearms licences and permits required to possess, an item needing endorsement,
  • fees for additional place of business including gun shows and auctions, notification and approval of an ammunition seller, mail order and internet sales, import permits,
  • fee for replacement card or permit,
  • fee for variation to endorsement – permission to carry,
  • fee for modification/assembly of firearms,
  • fee for modification of a prohibited firearms.

Out of scope

We are not consulting about the recent changes to the Arms Act 1983 that lay out the criteria for the recovery of costs which have already been decided by Parliament.

We are also not consulting on fees related to shooting clubs and shooting ranges because these were consulted on as part of a separate consultation on proposals for regulations for shooting clubs and ranges. 

The Act requires the Minister to be satisfied that the Police Commissioner has consulted with anyone affected, or likely to be affected, by these changes.

What are the proposals?

How to provide feedback

We want to hear from anyone with an interest in how the arms regulatory system is funded sufficiently to keep us all safe. This includes firearms licence holders and organisations from the firearms-owning community, iwi Māori, and the general public.

You can provide feedback on a single proposal, a few proposals or all.

Please include your name, contact details, (organisation, or professional capacity, if applicable).

There are three ways to send in your submission:

To assist you in submitting on these proposals you can complete an

online survey

This platform is fully digital and will provide you with a receipt email once you have submitted your response.

Alternatively, download a submission form:

You can attach it to an email to: armsactfees@police.govt.nz or post it to the Policy Group, Police National Headquarters, PO Box 3017, Wellington.

What happens to my submission?

Once consultation has closed all submissions will be analysed and used to inform final fee decisions.

All submissions and feedback will be collated and then assessed by Police and Cabinet. Submissions help to inform final proposals for regulations which are approved by Cabinet. 

New fees are likely to take effect in the 2023-2024 financial year.

FAQs

What are the costs for different licence and endorsements?

Proposals have been designed; so that the fees relate to the direct cost to process an application. This means that more complex application types that require more work will have a higher fee. Fees include to the indirect compliance costs incurred over the term of a licence.

We have also applied these principles to proposals:

  • a fee for one service should not subsidise the delivery of other services (e.g., a licence fee should not subsidise the issue of permits),
  • the resources applied are consistent with the Act’s purpose (ensuring that applicants are and continue to be fit and proper to hold a firearms licence),
  • efficiency improvements (or at least maintaining it) will reduce cost increases, and
  • avoiding fees that deter licence applications and encourage retention of firearms without a licence, which would risk have repercussions on achieving the Act’s purpose.

Why are the proposed fees being reviewed?

The terrorist incident on 15 March 2019, on the Christchurch masjidain, identified that the arms regulatory regime was severely underfunded and under resourced. 

Over the last ten years, up to financial year 20/21, successive governments spent a total of $115.2 million and users of the regulatory services (applicants for licences, endorsements, permits, approvals) contributed a total of $26.4 million.

The Government has recognised that there has been underinvestment in the delivery of Arms Act services. Budget 2022 saw funding of $208 million over four years to establish a new Firearms Business Unit within Police.

For many years, fees have not been adjusted to cover the costs of administering the firearms licensing, permitting, and approval system. Fees were last set in 1999 and other than adjustments made for changes in GST, they have not been changed since.   We have undertaken detailed analysis on actual costs based on the work required to meet legislation requirements and these are reflected in proposals. 

What will the fees collected be used for?

The fees recovery goes back to the Crown and is used to offset the overall Crown investment in the administration of the Arms Act.

The increase in fees will not result in additional services. This consultation is about whether users should be contributing more towards the cost of the required services.

Will my voice be listened to if I submit feedback?

Yes. All submissions and feedback will be read, collated, and analysed for Cabinet decision. Submissions help to inform proposals for new fees which are then submitted to Cabinet. A summary of submissions analysis and advice to Cabinet will be proactively released after decisions are taken. The new fee structure is expected to be announced in 2023.

If fees increase significantly, can I pay this off my fees in instalments?

This option would only be explored if the licence holders contributed more than 50 percent of the cost of obtaining a firearms licence. If this is something that you think would benefit the firearms community, we recommend that you provide this feedback on the specific question.

When will we know the outcome of this consultation?

This is up to the Government who is currently committed to meeting the full cost of delivery of the arms regulatory system. We expect to know the outcome of this consultation in 2023 when the schedule of fees will be published and communicated widely.

When will fees change?

There is no set date for fees to change. Current proposals for fees are only proposals and subject to public consultation and Government decision.

How have we arrived at the different fees proposals?

The proposed fees relate to the cost to provide each regulatory service. The discussion document lists the regulatory activities involved for the delivery of each service (licences, endorsements, permits, approvals). 

How many licence holders does this impact?

There are approximately 240,000 active licence holders in New Zealand. First time licences are issued for five years, and subsequent licences for 10 years. The impact across licence holders will not occur until an application is made.

Which licence holders does this impact?

The change to the firearms licence fee will have an impact on first-time applicants and on licence holders who apply for a second or subsequent licence. It is possible that people who use firearms very occasionally or have not done so for some time may not apply for a new licence once their current licence expires.

All the fees in the proposal have been derived from the full cost to provide that service.