Monday, 24 April 2023, 5:44 am
The Council of Licensed Firearm Owners (COLFO) has today called for Anzac Day services with ceremonial gun salutes to be exempt from new firearm event fees proposed by Police.
Last year Police proposed new fees for events where firearms are used, including charges for Police inspections and attendance at the events.
In December, the Returned and Services Association (RSA) said the new fees meant Anzac Day events would be charged $8,000 by Police to license such activities. They said community-organised events like Anzac services would not be able to afford the new cost, and gun salutes would no longer be a part of the commemorations.
The $8,000 fee is to obtain a ‘permit to carry’ from Police for each firearm used by the firing party, at a proposed cost of $1,020.
COLFO spokesperson Hugh Devereux-Mack says military memorials and remembrance activities traditionally involve a firing party.
“These fees will stop gun salutes, a tradition that has been a part of our Anzac Day services for generations.
“Of course, now these firing parties only fire blanks, and take safety very seriously.”
“The Police want to charge community events an immoral cost to properly remember our fallen soldiers.
“Theatrical armourers volunteer their time and donate firearms to these events to honour those who served.
“The firing party is part of the Anzac culture and a poignant moment in memorial services. How can you possibly put a price on that?” The consultation on the proposed fees has now closed, but Police are yet to announce whether the fees for commemorative activities like Anzac Day will stay or go.
Devereux-Mack says all memorial services like Anzac Day should be exempt from the proposed fees, as they are public events.
“These fees will affect all events involving firearms, from military re-enactments like airshows, to filming on Hollywood movie sets.
“The least the Police can do is exempt memorial services like Anzac Day from the fees.
“At $8,000 a pop, I’m sure the Police will make enough money off other events to allow Anzac Day and other memorial services to remember New Zealand’s military history properly.”
“Without an exemption the new fees proposed by Police will cripple Anzac services as we know them.”