13 May 2015

Council suggests multi-level gun licensing

6:36 am on 13 May 2015

A government review of unsafe use of guns and illegal hunting is being welcomed by the Game Animal Council.

280114. Photo Diego Opatowski / RNZ.Peter Dunne speaking at Parliament.

Associate Conservation Minister Peter Dunne said two recent deaths had prompted the Government's review of unsafe gun use. Photo: RNZ

Associate Conservation Minister Peter Dunne said two fatalities involving firearms over the weekend prompted the review.

A 21-year-old died after his gun went off and shot him in the chest as he climbed over a fence in Ruatiti near Ohakune, and a 15-year-old was killed while duck shooting in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

Mr Dunne said the review would establish what the wider problems were, where responsibility might lie and ways to reduce the risk of accidents involving guns.

"I want to talk to the police, the Department of Conservation, with MPI [Ministry of Primary Industries] and the Mountain Safety Council and pull together all of the information.

"Everyone's got a bit of the story. I think we need to get the whole overall picture and then my intention is, having got all that detail, to ask the Game Animal Council to look at it from the perspective of hunter safety and better education, and also a better regulatory regime for people who may just be going off by themselves."

Game Animal Council chairman Don Hammond said the minister was taking the right approach.

"He's not suggesting what the answer is because I don't think any of us necessarily know that at this stage.

"And what he is saying is, let's look at the whole issue, from start to finish, understand what's going on, why these things are happening and what it is that we can do about changing that."

Mr Hammond said the Game Animal Council would like to see a multi-level licensing approach, like the system used for drivers, for gun licensing.