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Hon Stuart Nash

MP for Napier

Minister of Police, Fisheries, Revenue, and Small Business

Contact Hon Stuart Nash

Stuart Nash was elected Labour MP for Napier in 2014. He was sworn in as Minister of Police, Revenue, Fisheries and for Small Business in October 2017 following the general election.

Stuart first entered politics in 2008 as a list MP and has been the Labour spokesperson for Police, Energy, Revenue, Forestry, Economic Development and Land Information.

In his maiden speech Stuart described himself as first and foremost a public servant, employed by the people of New Zealand; and as a social democrat committed to sustainable economic development and growth.

Prior to entering politics, Stuart worked in senior management in small and large organisations in both the private and public sectors. His wide-ranging career has included roles in IT, sales and marketing, business strategy, resource planning, strategic planning and general management. 

Stuart completed a Bachelor of Arts (History) at Victoria University before moving to Canterbury University where he gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Forestry and a Masters in Forestry Science. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma and Master’s Degree in Business Management and a Master of Law.

He is the great grandson of the third Labour Prime Minister Sir Walter Nash, and grew up in Napier where his father was a local lawyer and his mother was a school dental nurse.

He attended Napier Boys High School where he was a prefect and captain of the debating team and where his sporting interests included rugby, cricket and representative tennis. He is married to Sarah and has four children. He is currently a member of the Parliamentary cross-party rugby team, and enjoys all sports - but these days more from an armchair than a court, pitch or field.

Contact Hon Stuart Nash

Napier electorate office

Phone: 06 835 6093
Email: stuart.nashmp@parliament.govt.nz

155A Tennyson Street, Napier South, Napier
PO Box 827, Napier 4140

Parliamentary office

Phone: 04 817 8712
Email: stuart.nash@parliament.govt.nz

Freepost PO Box 18 888
Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160


Napier electorate enquiries

Latest from Hon Stuart Nash

Third reading: Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill

April 11, 2019

Mr Speaker

We have travelled a long way in eight days, since the bill was read a first time.

It has been a punishing schedule for MPs and submitters and public servants who have played a role in this process.

In that time, we have walked in the shoes of a wide cross section of our communities.

Where we have been

Discussions during the eight days of debate on this bill have taken us to the sanctuary of the mosques.

They have allowed us to witness the supreme effort of trauma surgeons in a hospital emergency department.

We have caught a glimpse of family circles now with an empty chair, or two, in their household.

We know there are widows, many widows. There are children who have been to funerals of a sibling, a parent, a grandparent.

There are elderly members of our community who never got a chance to say farewell to an old friend.

As well as the victims and the bereaved, we have walked through the worlds of the gun users and dealers.

  • Women have talked about their lives on farms.
  • We have been taken through the landscape of a high country sheep station,
  • introduced to the atmosphere on rifle ranges, and
  • heard of the wildlife in the mountains and valleys frequented by recreational hunters.

The Police Association reminded us of the everyday reality for frontline cops, listening to instructions and warnings on the radio as they head to a callout, wearing body armour to enable them to walk into danger.

While Parliament has been to these worlds, many other visits have been happening outside this place.

Mr Speaker, families and friends have been tending to the fourteen people still lying in hospital beds recovering from gunshot wounds and other injuries.

That includes a five year old girl at Starship in Auckland, and her father in the hospital next door.

One patient remains in intensive care in Christchurch Hospital.

Others are at Burwood.

Mr Speaker, this legislation is just the first step of many to make our country safer.

The all-of-government response is ongoing.

What else we are doing

Police are acutely aware of how vulnerable and frightened some communities still feel after the terror attack.

They have established a special operation to reach out to these groups to provide reassurance and advice.

They are also responding to the many questions people have about safety and security.

Police have made almost two-thousand visits to schools.

They have made almost 1400 visits to places of worship. These visits are mostly, but not exclusively, to our mosques.

But I’m also aware of a visit made by Police to a Chinese Christian Church, which normally has 150 people at its Sunday service.

Many had stopped coming because of fears and false rumours about threats. Police were able to reassure this congregation.

Fourteen Police officers with specialist cultural knowledge and skills have been deployed to liaise with ethnic communities in Christchurch.

The diversity of our Police force is growing as we rollout 1800 extra officers which means that Police are increasingly drawn from the communities they serve.

They can speak the languages and know about faith and cultural practices.

Police have also made almost 150 visits to gun clubs. This is an important community for Police.

It is worth repeating the assurances given by government from the earliest days:

There are good people in all of our communities who will find themselves in possession of banned firearms, parts and magazines.

This is because we are changing the law, not because these people have done anything wrong.

The amnesty and buyback

That is why we have an amnesty and are putting in place a buyback scheme.

To date, more than three-hundred weapons have been handed over during the amnesty.

More than 1100 online forms have been completed for more weapons and parts to be handed over

There have been 1900 phone calls to the dedicated Police freephone 0800 311311

The amnesty runs to 30 September but I want to remind the House that there is provision to extend that date, by Order in Council, if necessary.

Alongside that amnesty, the buyback will now be structured within a statutory framework.

The framework will provide certainty for all participants and create a transparent system for compensation.

Police have consulted extensively with Australian officials about their experience with almost thirty amnesties and buybacks since the 1990s.

We want to take the time to get it right to avoid some of the pitfalls and legal risks encountered across the Tasman.

Next legislative steps

Mr Speaker, tonight’s third reading completes the passage of the Arms Amendment Bill.

We have begun work on an Arms Amendment No. 2 Bill, which we hope to see around June.

That bill will address some long-debated questions around a gun register, the licensing regime, the system of Police vetting, and the ‘fit and proper person’ test, storage requirements and penalties, amongst other matters.

I hope this House can again come together to work collaboratively on the next stage of reforms.

Acknowledgements

Before I conclude I want to specifically acknowledge two people.

The first is the Prime Minister.

Jacinda Ardern has given us the mandate to respond swiftly to the horror attacks of 15 March.

Opinions will vary of course, but I believe this bill is possibly the most important legacy this government will leave for future generations.

Secondly, I want to acknowledge my Ministerial Advisor Barbara, and her family, who have sacrificed much over the past 26 days.

We have asked a lot of our public servants, officials, and their families since the attacks. They have made this country a safer and better place.

Conclusion

Mr Speaker, to conclude, I acknowledge that in just over two weeks we will be marking ANZAC Day, and Police are busy working with RSAs and Councils to make the occasions as safe as possible.

Traditionally this day remembers those we have lost in war, the military and the civilians.

We remember those who have served our country, and who have worked to make it a safer place, where freedoms are protected.

Of course those freedoms include being free from harm and free of the fear of harm.

Those freedoms include making room for diversity, tolerance, and inclusion.

The day marks the historical ties that will forever link New Zealand, Australia, and our friends in Turkey.

It is an appropriate moment to remind the House of the words of the great Ottoman and Islamic leader, Field Marshall Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

He honoured our war dead who lie buried in Turkey with words which are reproduced on war memorials in Wellington, Canberra, and ANZAC Cove overlooking the Aegean Sea.

He noted:

You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.

Therefore rest in peace.

There is no difference to us between the Johnnies and Mehmets, where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.

Mr Speaker, we embrace those who lost their lives at the mosques.

They are us.

 


Legal framework for gun buyback scheme announced

April 10, 2019

Police Minister Stuart Nash has announced a legal framework for the gun buyback will be established as a first step towards determining the level of compensation. It will include compensation for high capacity magazines and parts.

Mr Nash has outlined changes to the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill which will be debated during the committee stages of the legislation.

The Supplementary Order Paper reflects changes arising from the Select Committee process. It sets out the framework for dealing with the legal ownership of weapons, magazines and parts and the broad approach for determining payments.  

“The regulations will create a framework to set compensation based on make, model and condition of the items. They will provide for rights of review and appeal,” Mr Nash says.

“Independent advisors will develop the price list for approval by Cabinet. A separate expert panel of advisors will be established to determine fair compensation for high value firearms.

“Police have also consulted extensively with Australian officials to familiarise themselves with the pitfalls and legal risks encountered there. Australia has had almost thirty amnesties and buyback schemes since the 1990s.

“The new measures make it clear that surrendered firearms will be the property of the Crown. Owners will be compensated for them, if the guns were lawfully obtained and the person had the appropriate firearms licence. Price lists will be set out in regulations which are now being drafted.

“This framework provides certainty for all participants in this process and sets out a clear appeal process if the compensation is disputed.

“A number of transitional measures are also being put in place to handle one-off questions.  This includes weapons which were in transit from overseas when the ban took effect. Customs officials may deliver them to Police as part of the amnesty and buyback arrangement.

“Police are already collecting bank account details from people who are taking part in the gun amnesty. They are well placed to begin paying compensation once the scheme is confirmed. I can reassure firearms owners there will be plenty of time for them to hand over their weapons as part of the amnesty and to have their compensation processed under the buyback as well.

“The government has listened closely to official advice about the need to provide statutory authority for decisions and payments under the buyback scheme,” Mr Nash said.

The regulations are expected to be considered by Cabinet in May. If necessary, the amnesty can be extended by a month or so to run alongside the buyback.

 

 


Second reading: Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill

April 10, 2019

Mr Speaker, it is Day 25 of the largest criminal investigation in New Zealand history.

Not a day, or a moment, has been wasted as we respond to the atrocity that is testing us all.

That is true also of the Select Committee.

I particularly acknowledge the members of the Committee who met under great time pressure to help speed this legislation through Parliament.

I thank the chair Michael Wood and I thank the other MPs who have all played their part.

I thank the 13 thousand or so who made submissions, and the tens of thousands of others who participated in this process by signing online petitions.

I thank the expert Police advisors and officials.

I thank the teams of public servants and policy analysts from multiple government agencies who assisted.

At least ninety extra people were drafted in to work late at night and through the weekend to consider, analyse and report on the submissions.

But perhaps the biggest debt of all is owed to the families and friends of those who fell at the mosques.

They came to Parliament to speak for those who could not.

Their bravery and dignity, their grief and their despair carry meaning that no paper submission or petition can convey.

Their eloquence and compelling truths gave weight to the memory of those we have lost.

There is one more submission I wish to single out, and in doing so I mean no disrespect to the others.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons took us to a very confronting place.

The family and friends of those who died gave us their memories.

The surgeons gave us the bodily presence of those who survived.

Mr Speaker, specialist James McKay saw 48 terribly injured men, women and children arrive in less than an hour in the Canterbury Hospital Emergency Department. 

At the Select Committee, his description of the injuries to their chests, lungs and abdomens, their skin and tissue and bone was, quite simply, horrifying.

Four hundred years ago The Merchant of Venice also confronted the effects of religious and cultural intolerance, for another group.

If I could paraphrase for a moment Mr Speaker.

Do we not have the same hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions;

fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?

If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?

Mr Speaker, we are hurt with weapons.

Unlike that speech, we are not seeking revenge.

We are seeking safety.

We have to stop this happening again.

There is an A to W list of government agencies wrapping around the survivors and the bereaved, from ACC to Work and Income.

We have a responsibility too, here in this Chamber.

This Parliament is acting, near-unanimously, to take these firearms and associated parts out of circulation.

They cause deadly harm. They are designed to kill quickly and at scale.

There is no good reason to have them outside extremely tightly defined circumstances.

Exemptions – wild animal and pest control

Mr Speaker firearms are an important tool to help prevent damage to the environment.

There is an exemption in the bill for legitimate users to have access to prohibited firearms – semi automatics - for the sole purpose of pest eradication.

These commercial operators will need to demonstrate a genuine need for the firearm and that they cannot do the job with another type of weapon.

Rural Women NZ made a strong case that there is no need for assault rifles and military style semi-automatics on farms.

The Committee heard a range of views about the place of semi-automatics on farms and large landholdings.

Members of the committee believed that the exemption for commercial wild animal control or animal pest control businesses should be kept narrow.

The exemption does allow commercial businesses specialising in pest control to use a prohibited item for such purposes on private land or non-conservation land.

This will allow private land owners to engage a legitimate pest control business to assist in protecting our environment.

I am aware that there are some in the community who believe this does not go far enough.

The fact is Mr Speaker we must ensure that we do not create gaping loopholes that can be exploited. The right balance must be struck and I believe this provision does just that.

Other exemptions

Mr Speaker the select committee has made a number of recommendations which I believe should be included in the Bill.

Earlier I spoke of the need to ensure that we get the balance right between protecting our communities and allowing the tools to effectively protect our environment.

The select committee has given extensive consideration to the conditions placed upon a bona fide collectors.

Currently collectors must remove a key component of a firearm, rendering it inoperable.

The committee has recommended that the bill is amended to prescribe further precautions that must be taken to prevent the theft or misuse of these vital parts.

The committee has also recommended the ability for people to apply for an endorsement on their licence to keep a prohibited firearm if that item is an heirloom or memento. 

This will hopefully reduce the risk of people continuing to unlawfully possess a prohibited firearm. 

The Committee has agreed with the Government that there is no need for an exemption for sporting competitors or competitions.

No-one competing in shooting disciplines at the Olympic or Commonwealth Games will be affected by this Bill.

In addition, people who compete in the 3-gun discipline will continue to be able to compete using a .22 or lower calibre semi-automatic.

This Bill strikes the right balance.

Process

Mr Speaker, before concluding I want to briefly touch on the process.

In addition to the 13,000 submissions referred to in the Committee’s report, there were petitions signed by thousands of others.

For comparison, the comprehensive Thorp Inquiry more than twenty years ago considered just under three-thousand submissions.

Simon Mount QC, who was special counsel advising the Thorp Inquiry in 1997, has supported this process.

He made a submission stating:

“There are exceptional circumstances that require swift action, and this is one.

The arguments for immediate action seem compelling…the Committee will be well aware of the main arguments for and against.”

Conclusion

Mr Speaker, the survivors and the bereaved have a lifetime of physical and emotional trauma ahead.

For them, day 25 will blur into day 26 and day 27 and every day will be a struggle.

We have the responsibility to make every moment count.

That is why Mr Speaker, I commend this Bill to the house.

ENDS


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