David Seymour says lack of public consultation on gun reforms creating 'division and anger'

ACT leader David Seymour says the lack of public consultation on gun law reforms has led to "division and anger".   

Seymour has accepted a petition signed by almost 16,000 people calling for more public consultation on firearms legislation so that it "does not unduly punish law-abiding firearms owners". 

"I'm here today to accept the petition of Hayden Livingstone," Seymour said on Thursday at Parliament, explaining how "nearly 16,000 people have said they would like to be heard by Parliament on the gun laws". 

The Finance Expenditure Select Committee held 15-minute oral submissions on Thursday from a range of groups and individuals for and against the Government's gun reform legislation introduced to Parliament on Tuesday. 

The legislation came after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons (MSSAs) and assault rifles in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch shooting that left 50 people dead. 

Seymour believes the gun law reform process has been rushed, with the new legislation expected to become law by the end of next week, allowing for only one day of public submissions. 

David Seymour.
David Seymour. Photo credit: Newshub

"I don't understand what the point of having a law making process that is consultative is, if the Government is just going to ignore people who want to have a say," Seymour said. 

"I don't see how it is bringing New Zealanders together and being constructive to have a totally different law-making process that doesn't listen to anyone."

Seymour was asked about comments made during the select committee by Mike Loder, a sporting gun enthusiast, who recently called Ardern a "tyrant" in a blog post over her move to ban MSSAs and assault rifles.  

He said Loder's language sounded "unfortunate" but said it was a "product partly of his own personality... but also of the conditions that have been created where so few people can be heard". 

"That division and anger is the complete opposite of what Jacinda Ardern was rightly praised for bringing about in the weeks after our nation's tragedy," Seymour said. 

"But the fact the Government has decided to ram this gun legislation through in such a short timeframe is now creating this kind of division."

Seymour said the gun legislation could have been implemented in six to eight weeks at the least, but said "in one day, not a chance". 

The MP had been vocal this week about his opposition to the Government pushing through gun law reforms without giving people enough say. 

He told Newshub on Tuesday that he intended to vote against allowing the Government extended sitting hours in the House to debate the reforms, which would force it into passing the legislation through urgency.  

But when the time came to vote on the issue in the House, Seymour was outside speaking to media, and the House Speaker Trevor Mallard allowed the extended hours.