Consultation: Arms Regulations Review of Fees 2022 - Closed

Consultation has closed for fees cost recovery

New Zealand Police invited submissions on proposed fee changes for arms regulatory services. The proposed fees and timing are yet to be decided by Cabinet.

Submissions were open from 8 December 2022 to 2 March 2023.

The discussion document included proposals for fees to contribute to an arms regulatory system that keeps us all safe. A greater contribution from licence holders is being sought.

All submissions and feedback have been collated and then assessed by Police.

Decisions are made by Cabinet. Police does not expect Cabinet to make decisions on arms fees before 2024.

A summary of submissions will be published on the police website following Cabinet decision.

What we consulted on?

The scope of the consultation included:

  • 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 did not consult on 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 did 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?

Supporting information

Police has proactively released documents relating to information on the methodology for determining the proposed fees, costings of firearms licences and dealer's licences. It is available to read in the 'Proactive release of papers: Arms Regulations Review of Fees 2022' Publication record.


Why are the 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.

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.

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. Once a decision is made by Cabinet, a new 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).

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

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.

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.