So far, so good. At Cabinet yesterday, the promised changes to our gun laws cleared their first hurdle. According to PM Jacinda Ardern, Cabinet agreed collectively “in principle” on a set of proposals to change New Zealand’s gun laws. Those proposals will be publicly announced before Cabinet meets again next Monday. Some details remain to be sorted out which, Ardern said, meant that she was currently unable to specify any elements of what the government has in mind. This seemed odd given that, presumably, none of those outstanding details has the power to up-end the commitments that Cabinet has just made.
The consensus is significant though, because worries had existed that NZF Defence Minister Ron Mark ( a long time pal of the gun lobby) might try to play a spoiler role – but NZF leader Winston Peters confirmed it had been a collective Cabinet decision, adding that the events of March 15 had changed everything. Later in the press conference, Ardern also hinted that National leader Simon Bridges might be inclined to support the changes being mooted.
Yesterday, Ardern also announced an inquiry into the background to the mosque attacks and into the role played by the SIS, GCSB, Police, Customs, and Immigration. As she indicated, this investigation will examine what the agencies knew about the attacker and his activities and whether they satisfactorily detected and shared any warning signals. The terms of reference and timetable for this inquiry have yet to be finalised.