GUEST BLOG: Nick Rockel – Happiness is a Warm Gun

Nicole McKee - She's not a girl who misses much.

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She’s not a girl who misses much
Do do do do do do, oh yeah
She’s well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand
Like a lizard on a window pane

I wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them to go right now. But they sure do love guns.

Not me.

Nope, I’m your typical leftie who thinks the whole place would be better off if we didn’t have them. But I’m also aware that some folks enjoy using guns for sports, pest control, hunting, and by and large they don’t cause a lot of trouble.

Sure occasionally one of them thinks their mate looks like a deer and shoots them, but compared to things like cars they cause relatively few deaths here. My view has tended to be – have your fun if you must, I’d rather we didn’t have guns, but for the most our laws seem to be working ok.

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That she’ll be right attitude came back and bit us hard on March 15 2019, when the nation was shocked that one man full of poison and hate could devastate an entirely peaceful and decent community, massacring so many – with legal weapons.

A lot of us were proud of the pace at which our government of the day, lead determinedly by PM Jacinda Ardern, moved to reduce access to the most dangerous weapons. Those capable of massacring many human beings in a short time frame.

Guns that have no legitimate purpose in Aotearoa. If you’re using a machine gun on a pig or a possum that’s pretty messed up.

As you might recall the political parties in parliament put petty partisanship aside, and acted in unison in the interests of the country. Well except that one weird kid.

That one weird kid.

The man in the crowd with the multicoloured mirrors
On his hobnail boots
Lying with his eyes while his hands are busy
Working overtime

You know the guy, David Seymour, the chap who stood in the foyer of parliament boasting that ACT would vote against even that small safety measure and in so doing missed the vote.

I mention it now because had that been a Labour or a Greens party leader you’d still be hearing about it. Forget couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery, this guy couldn’t cast a vote in parliament – literally his only job.

Lisa Owen’s style is not my favourite on RNZ, but she does a good job here:

Sadly that one weird kid will soon be the deputy Prime Minister and he has a bunch of his odd mates with him too. Thanks in no small part to the support of niche voting groups like disgruntled gun enthusiasts. As with all the coalition parties ACT are no doubt keen to keep their commitments to supporters, even if the vast majority in the country don’t necessarily support such change.

Sadly this phenomenon of a further right leader supplanting the centre right option is not unique to Aotearoa. Winston might compete on racial rhetoric but as you watch this clip from Jonathan Pie last night it’s clear to see that Nigel Farage is very much the UK’s very own David Seymour:

What did ACT promise?

On the ACT party page on guns the commitment is for something called “Fair Firearm Laws”. The opening line, “ACT made a commitment to licensed firearms owners that we would start again and rewrite the Arms Act. Now we are making good on that commitment.”

It also says “in 2019, ACT was the only party to stand up for what was right and vote against Labour’s rushed firearms law reforms”, although as we know a certain someone missed the vote on account of being a bit tardy.

The page is basically a big moan about how hard done by poor wannabe gun owners are, how Jacinda’s actions were knee-jerk, and worst of all that criminals are still breaking the law with guns. That last bit is pretty idiotic, and a red herring. It’s like saying people still speed so we should get rid of speed limits, hmm looks like young Simeon has that in hand. Or that people still die in car crashes so we should stop making safety belts compulsory.

Actually perhaps best not to mention that to ACT, it sounds like just their sort of thing – cracking down on pesky regulations that limit people’s freedoms. And you’ll never feel more free than when being expelled at high velocity through the front windscreen of a car following an otherwise survivable crash, unrestrained by government bureaucracy. So much freedom.

The coalition agreement between ACT and National contains the following provisions relating to firearms.

  • Rewrite the Arms Act 1983 to provide for greater protection of public safety and simplify regulatory requirements to improve compliance and pass it through all stages during this term of Parliament.
  • Transfer responsibility for the Arms Act 1983, policy and regulation to the Ministry of Justice, and transfer the Firearms Safety Authority, administrator of the Act, to another department such as the Department of Internal Affairs.
  • Review whether the Firearms Registry is effectively improving public safety, beginning by June 2024.
  • Immediately begin to repeal and replace Part 6 of the Arms Act 1983 relating to clubs and ranges.

Enter Minister McKee

This week has seen Nicole McKee, Minister for Civilian Re-armament, sorry Assoc. Minister of Justice (firearms), front and centre.

“It is time we take a good look at the whole system and make the necessary changes to ensure that it is fit for purpose for New Zealand today and into the future. We need to find simple, workable solutions that deliver tangible safety outcomes for New Zealand communities,”

said McKee. Which sounds good, but also an awful lot like the weasel words we get from the likes of the NRA.

“It provides a unique opportunity to take a systematic and considered approach to our laws, in a way that hasn’t been done in over 40 years. Rather than the rushed ‘government-knows-best’ approach that we have seen in the past, we will be consulting with New Zealanders to allow their views to be heard.”

So now they’re interest in what they public think? After all of the passing everything under urgency nonsense, now they want to follow a sensible approach? You’ll forgive me if I’m a tad cynical.

Mind you that’s not to say that I wouldn’t trust the public more than the likes of Simeon Brown, Chris Bishop and Shane Jones to make decisions. I doubt even the public would, for example, be looking to increase speed limits around schools.

Well some impatient jerks would no doubt, but is that who we’re running the country for? A small percentage of the population who are grumpy and don’t want anyone else’s safety concerns getting in the way of their fun? That was a rhetorical question, it’s pretty obvious that’s exactly what’s happening.

So we have the reckons of three scrutable ministers, keen to keep their financial backers happy no doubt. The half baked ideas of the public on how to regulate, or more to the point not regulate, guns. The one group they want to remove from the picture with all of these decisions are the experts.

Scientists and researchers, basing their decisions on evidence. Get those guys out of here, those party poopers will spoil everyone’s fun. Bloody ivory tower brainiacs

What problem are we solving?

So what’s the problem these changes are trying to solve? The only rationale I can see making the acquisition of guns easier and the tracking of guns harder.

I’m sure that as with any law some modernisation is required, but I somehow doubt that Nicole McKee is so excited about changing gun laws just to make things clearer.


When I hold you in my arms (ooh, oh, yeah)
And I feel my finger on your trigger (ooh, oh, yeah)
I know nobody can do me no harm (ooh, oh, yeah)
Because

Happiness is a warm gun, yes it is (bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Happiness is a warm, yes it is, gun (happiness, bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Well, don’t you know that happiness is a warm gun momma?
(Happiness is a warm gun, yeah)


This is about making life easier for gun owners, as a priority over the safety considerations of the rest of us. It’s the sort of thing the gun lobby would promote and I’d love to know what links there are between such and ACT.

I’ve no evidence of such but the government, as they seem to be doing with other things, is prioritising the demands of industry lobby groups over the public interest.

Whether there’s a financial aspect is ultimately neither here nor there because the result is that whether it be roading, tobacco, mining, oil and gas exploration, or guns they’re doing the bidding of the lobbyists regardless.

What if the Minister is the lobbyist?

Nicole McKee has long opposed restrictions on guns, in this article, published just two days after the Christchurch killings, she was already resisting attempts to restrict semi-automatic weapons.

At the time Nicole was the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (COLFO) spokesperson, and said, “there was a stringent vetting process for firearm licenses that included interviews with referees”. Just two days after the terrorist action occurred.

She told Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that she didn’t believe military style semi-automatic weapons should be banned.

“We have several legitimate uses for them in this country, we have them for sporting uses, we have them for on rural properties, we have work places that use them for culling. So there’s actually quite a number of reasons that we have them.”

Don’t you think that’s appalling? Imagine if it was someone you knew killed, or simply that you’re a human being with basic decency, and reading that – good grief, read the room.

Even National’s Gerry Brownlee said in the same article that he supported a ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons. “I won’t be changing from that position. I find it bizarre that people can say they need automatic rifles for sports hunting. That doesn’t quite fit into my understanding of what you would consider sport to be.”

If you have the time it’s really worth checking out this clip from the chaps at BHN:

Nicole told the Herald this week that she would be sidelining her personal views on the matter. Which may well be the biggest “Yeah Right” in all of NZ history.

The Herald article, which is paywalled, quotes the Minister saying,

“I’ve got to make sure it’s not my personal views that go forward but rather collective views. Good legislation involves everybody, and bad legislation is usually when somebody goes off and does something by themselves.”

“With my background in firearms safety and education, I’m well placed to look at what would be the public safety interest. But I’m never going to be arrogant enough to think that I have the answers to everything. I need to be able to pull on everybody else’s expertise from all different areas to get enduring law.”

As a former gun lobbyist, advocating for fewer regulations and restrictions around guns I don’t think McKee should be anywhere near this process, if in fact one is needed.

But then you can add to that a long list. Be it the coalition MPs who seem rather sympathetic to Big Tobacco, or Shane Jones making decisions with more interest in scratching the backs of fishing or fossil fuel groups, than any other considerations.

ACT Party firearms’ spokesperson Nicole McKee was a leading member of gun lobby group COLFO before becoming an MP at the 2020 election. Photo: Robert Kitchin/Stuff.

I know many Kiwis have been frustrated by incredibly long waiting times for gun licensing applications. I get that frustration, I’d be a hypocrite not to after my interactions with the RealMe service this week.

Whatever I think of guns if the law allows people to have them applications should be processed in a reasonable amount of time. I wouldn’t mind if the delays were for vetting but realistically it’s just bureaucracy, forms sitting in a pile or a virtual queue, while the prospective gun recipient gets more frustrated. So what can we do?

Well we could hire enough people to do that work, and clear the backlog. But ACT wouldn’t like that option, it costs money. So what do we do? Scrap, sorry simplify, the existing restrictions so people don’t have to wait?

My concern is it’ll end up easier in this country to get a gun than to update your RealMe account, and for once I’m not using exaggeration for effect.

I’ll be watching this one with interest. I don’t trust Nicole McKee, ACT, or the coalition, to actually consider the views of anyone but the gun lobby. Do you?

 

“Nick Rockel is a left wing writer who spent far too long working in IT and now writes “Nick’s Kōrero”. An almost daily substack of political satire, news, and views, from Aotearoa New Zealand. He lives in West Auckland, and has 5 kids, 2 dogs, and 1 wife. He Substacks here.

42 COMMENTS

  1. Non-gun owner here.
    Just wanting to point out that the Christchurch mass murder got his guns through a grotesque, complete failure of the Police Licensing officer in Southland.

    The Police have never been able to consistently reach high standards of licensing compliance because gun licensing is skimped on to keep the funding for the parts of Policing that the public and journalists notice.

    • Yes, if they’d simply checked his damned Facebook page he wouldn’t have got anywhere near a gun – legally anyway.
      I’ve always had between one and eight guns and never really seen the need for an MSSA. Given that I was never culling goats from a helicopter or anything.
      But just a quibble – Nigel Farage is not a great deal like Seymour. Farage at least has the reputation amongst some people for being fun, which I don’t think Seymour has. Farage has that false, man of the people bonhomie, which Seymour could never match in a million years. And I never thought I’d ever say this but Seymour is at least slightly more honest than Farage.
      Farage spent years in the European Parliament collecting a large salary for doing fuck all – and I mean fuck all because he hardly ever turned up. I’m not sure that Seymour would have the gall to do that.

      • Farage is a scum bag for all the reasons you describe. You laugh and joke with you while march you off to the camps

  2. Wouldnt trust her as far as I could kick her .Another gun toting red neck .At least the gun sellers will increase business as the crimes flock in and buy up all the stock in the shops .

  3. We fixing the laws so they target criminals, not waste hundreds of millions on people who aren’t the problem.

            • In fact no machine guns were handed in during Ardern’s confiscation because they’re owned by ‘C’ licence holders. They’re all still out there. LOTS of them!

              But getting back to the left’s love of firearms confiscation is it just because Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot did the same? Basically keeping up the traditional party values? Or do you have a genuine concern about our safety? Because if you did you’d surely want to ban swimming pools and kitchen utensils first.

              • And how semi-autos vanished? And how much taxpayers money went to buy new firearms to replace those destroyed? Lucky there’s no shortage of government money. Oh, wait…

              • erickkka in the ussr hunting rifles and target shooting where popular, not to mention volonteer militias and DOSAAF classes….do try to get your info from something other than rightwing u-tube channels…try the ushanka show on you tube
                he’s not a communist by a long chalk but did actually grow up their before emigrating to the states

    • You’re an idiot Erik. Open your eyes to the shitshow that is America and the daily carnage of firearm deaths in a country awash with firearms. But I guess you can always parrot the Fox News intelligentsia that fire arms don’t kill people, people do.

  4. “A lot of us were proud of the pace at which our government of the day, lead determinedly by PM Jacinda Ardern, moved to…”

    Put aside normal democratic processes and rammed through some very poor legislation that wasted hundreds of millions, lost 100000+ firearms, spent $100,000,000+ buy LFOs new guns and let gun crime spiral out of control. We’ll fix this.

  5. Thanks Nick for an excellent article, it seems that Eric the error got triggered by it so that is enough to show the very valid reasons that we need strong sensible gun control laws.

  6. It doesn’t matter what the laws are when it was SOLELY the failure to apply them which gave a terrorist their opportunity.

    Labours unconsidered law changes led to all kinds of unintended consequences – including ironically an increase in gun violence.

    Meanwhile, taking responsibility off of the inept Police and handing it over to the openly corrupt DIA is hilarious. I thought we were looking for solutions, not problems.

    • Get your hand of it. So more restrictive gun laws led to more “gun violence”? Utter bs. Please tell us how. Did more restrictive gun laws mean more 501’s as well?

  7. Clearly having a couple of gas guzzling tanks parked on the driveway isn’t enough to make up for having a small penis.
    Maybe machine guns will add a few cm to their net worth.

      • So clearly your brain was removed along with your penis. Why would you say more restrictive gun laws are the domain of the left exclusively? Which way did the party’s vote with the law change? Apart from Act of course who attracted what percentage of the vote at the last election?

      • I think the Left is generally opposed to female genital mutilation, unless it’s an important cultural practice, then they probably think it should be respected, but only as long as it is carried out by women.

  8. The gun law changes were meaningless. We need to recognize the real problem.

    Tarrant did what he did because of ‘counterjihad’ (anti-Muslim) propaganda spread by people like Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Rob Berg, Juliet Moses. Blaming Muslims for the flow of refugees caused by the invasion of a number of Arab countries that supported Palestine being invaded by the American puppet government. That spreading of hatred for Muslims needs to stop.

    • 45,000 Islamic jihad attacks since 9/11, including the Hamas attack in southern Israel on Oct 7, tend to produce a few reciprocators like Tarrant. Jihadists under the umbrella of the Muslim Brotherhood need to stop their hateful antisemitism and Infidelophobia and welcome the return of Jews to their homeland like socialists in western democracies welcome incoming Muslim refugees and migrants.

      • Are we supposed to believe that no Western nation attacked any Muslim nation over that time that Muslim people could use as a reason to attack the West? As the ancient proverb says “The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him.” (18:17) so you should learn to use your brain before your keyboard if you want to be taken seriously.
        People who live in glasshouse should not throw stones is another common saying & the honest evidence shows that the West, particularly the USA, by their improper actions, has caused lots of resentment around the world.

  9. yes the river of filth followers have way too much say in this country considering 92% did not vote for them .Bunch of gun toting bandana wearing red necks .I wonder hoe many of them surcumed to the virus

  10. Until Ecstasy becomes readily available everywhere at any time we should all be able to conceal-carry anything with a trigger. 40 years of Kiwi neo-liberalism has turned us into loopies. Just look at the U$A?
    Every single person is a gun nut and that’s because they believe that every single OTHER person is going to try and shoot them because they believe everyone else is a psychopathic INCEL with deep seated mummy issues, and they’d be right.
    I think if we went far enough out to look back at earth, perhaps in the company of an intergalactic mental health warden to offer guidance and support, we’d see the world as it truly is. A mental health asylum. That’s why no one fucking comes here. Not for long anyway. One look at us mopes and they’re gone at warp speed tentacles and all.

  11. Mckee is an unelected politician who doesn’t represent the majority of New Zealanders, those who don’t own or need or want guns. Last week Seymour told the country he wanted more of our vote which is like saying “Ask not what I can do for my country but what my country can do for my ego”. The word ‘parasitic’ comes to mind in describing ACT, who wouldn’t exist without their sickly host National. And did you see the article about Macho Parkinson the ex All Black gun runner, who apparently took five knocks to the head for each of the five guns he illegally onsold? These people are using up valuable atmospheric oxygen and resources the world can ill afford to lose. We need guns as much as we need malcontents shooting strangers in the street who then do a final haka over the corpse of their father’s artistic legacy.

    • “These people are using up valuable atmospheric oxygen and resources the world can ill afford to lose.”

      Are you suggesting we exterminate criminals & other useless drains on society? I thought they were the supporters of the Left?

  12. Don’t let the gun nuts blow smoke in our faces with diversionary claims that the problem is not the deadly weaponry but instead it is/has been some failure of policing.

    It is the guns.
    Don’t risk emulating the insanity of USA.

    • I agree, there is no need for assault rifles or hand-guns in society, but when the govt. starts over-reaching on a moral crusade , it’s a slippery slope. unfortunately ACT will over-reach in the other direction – again, on a moral crusade. You will never eliminate firearms, never. it’s up to you if you want to live in a police state where the use of these tools is forced underground and legitmate use is tainted, or kept out in the open for all to see. we could go on about drug use, the misuse of capital or the abuse of office, if you want. how many people have been terminated for drug debts? how many are incarcerated for financial hardship? who is watching you and your internet usage and making decisions on your fitfulness for an ideal society? NZ is moving towards puritanical oblivion. Thank fuck for Maori.

    • indeed rich a semi auto can do considerably more damage than a bolt action

      are we in nz the ill educated retard cousins of the yanks…I do hope not

  13. it’s led to over-reach – a lot of people are losing their licenses over trivial un-litigated legal transgressions and forcing them underground. You cannot regulate against the limbic and endocrine systems. Community engagement and a feeling of inclusion is the only way to dampen those. We are heading towards a future of repressed anxiety… as if we don’t have enough already. when we are all deemed to be outlaws, what does that make the law? A police state coming to a place near you… faster under these clowns despite the rhetoric of the ACT party. they’d privatise the police force with vigilantes if they had their way.

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