Shane Jones photographed with firearm banned in New Zealand

Minister Shane Jones has been photographed firing a banned firearm while on holiday.

Jones was supposed to be studying the Cabinet Manual on his break last week. Instead, he was snapped shooting what appears to be an AR-15 - a weapon banned here by his own Government after it was used in the Christchurch terror attacks.

Photos posted to social media by his wife show him at an overseas firing range holding the weapon, NZME reports.

According to experts, the gun is an AR-15 - a lightweight semi-automatic rifle now illegal in New Zealand.

"It certainly looks like the firearm could be an AR-15 centre-fire rifle. If it is an AR-15 centre-fire rifle then the magazine looks, on the face of it, to be of high capacity," a spokesperson for the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners told NZME.

"That would mean both the firearm and magazine would be prohibited and now banned in New Zealand."

If the firearm was a .22 calibre, it would be banned, while the magazine could be legal.

Shane Jones with the firearm.
Shane Jones with the firearm. Photo credit: Dot Jones / Facebook

A spokesperson for Jones told Newshub the photos were taken at a controlled indoor shooting range.

"The Minister says after firing such weapons he's even more convinced that we don't need them in New Zealand and says he fully stands by Cabinet's decisions on gun control in the wake of the March terrorist attack."

Questioned about the photos at her post-Cabinet press conference on Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she "absolutely" would not have fired the gun and she would raise this with Jones.

However, she said the important thing was that he supports the New Zealand ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles in March.

The second round of gun law changes was introduced to Parliament last month, including a register to track firearms, new offences and penalties, and a change to the length of time of issue for a licence from 10 to five-years.

Just last month, Jones got told off by Ardern after he was accused of trying to bribe attendees into voting for NZ First in a speech to the forestry industry in Northland.

At the time, Ardern said she had spoken to Jones about the comments he made, and he would be taking the Cabinet manual with him over the Parliamentary recess.

Today, Ardern said that this, too, would be followed up with Jones.