13 January 2020
Our Reference: IR-01-19-19336
Email: [FYI request #10748 email]
I am writing to you in response to your request dated 16 July 2019. You asked:
How many "permits to import" other than tourist licenses have been issued by the
NZ Police for firearms in the last 10 years.
Provide such information as available for the type of firearms they cover. e.g.
quantity, type, brand, model. If the information for the last 10 years is not
available in detail then provide such information is available in detail and state
why it is not is not available given it is a primary Police function.
Your request has been considered under the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act).
When a permit is issued, it allows the person to whom it is issued to import the firearms
described on the permit. The permit is 'current' for up to a year. While the permit may
allow the person to bring a certain type and number of firearms, the make/model of each
firearm are loaded into the system only after the particular firearms are imported, and
only when notification is provided by the importer (licence holder).
Once the notification is received from the importer, the permit is recorded as ‘used’.
Police can therefore only tel you how many permits were set to ‘used’, and the specifics
of the firearms attached to those permits. The number of firearms actually imported will
subsequently be different from what is recorded in the system as the system is reliant on
this notification to Police by the importer, which does not always occur.
Between 17 Sep 2009 and 16 Sep 2019, New Zealand Police issued 14,017 import
permits where at least one of the items requested on the permit was a ‘firearm’, ‘MSSA’,
or ‘pistol’ (the permits may have included other items also). The number of such firearms
requested on these permits was 269,428. This does not mean they were all imported.
Of these 14,017 import permits, 4,938 permits are now ‘used’ and have 68,295 firearms
linked to them. The type, make, model, and calibre of these firearms are listed in the
attached spreadsheet. I have excluded any parts that were also on the same permits.
Police National Headquarters
180 Molesworth Street. PO Box 3017, Wellington 6140, New Zealand.
Telephone: 04 474 9499. Fax: 04 498 7400. www.police.govt.nz
Please also note that this does not mean these firearms are currently in the possession of
these licence holders (they may have since been sold, stolen, seized, or destroyed).
An import permit allows the person issued it to import the firearms described on the
permit. A permit is ‘current’ for up to a year, and is considered ‘used’ when the person it
was issued to notifies Police that it has been used. A person is required under regulation
13 of the Arms Regulations 1992 to notify Police that a permit has been used, and this
must be no longer than 30 days after the item has been imported. The information in the
response is based on information Police was notified of.
You have the right under section 28(3) of the Act to ask an Ombudsman to review this
decision. You can do this by writing to [email address].
For your information, Police has developed a process for proactive release of information,
so the anonymised response to your request may be publicly released on the New
Zealand Police website.
Arms Act Service Delivery Group