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Election 2020 – How I’m Voting

October is election month, and politics are a polarising subject; love them or hate them, this October – unless you’re heading bush for a month – it’s going to be hard to avoid them!

NZRod&Rifle recently published an online questionnaire that we forwarded to all the major parties for comment asking what each of their stances would be on important matters facing hunters, firearm owners, and outdoor enthusiasts.

It’s important to note, NZRod&Rifle respects everybody’s right to vote however they choose.

In this opinion piece, NZRod&Rifle writers and industry business owners have stated their views on why they feel this particular election is so critical for hunters and firearm owners and offer their thoughts on the coming election.

For the full article and each party’s full unedited questionaire response, click here.

Dave Benfell

editor, rod&Rifle

I’d like to start with the fact that I value democracy greatly. Your vote is a personal choice, and I believe strongly in your right to choose how you wish. In these polarising times, I feel it necessary to state my case as to how I’m voting, as I see this election as one of the most crucial votes to the firearms/hunting community in recent history. Many are asking for information to allow them to make the best choice.

What’s motivating me? My son – as well as generations after us – growing up and having the ability to enjoy the same rights, experiences and privileges I’ve enjoyed is key. We have an amazing country, but we need to acknowledge and protect what makes it so special, and our world-class freedom to hunt is one of those pillars.

I’m voting ACT as my party vote and National as my electoral vote. I see an ACT/ National coalition government as the best chance to fight back some of the injustices of the recent past. I realise Judith Collins is no friend of firearms owners, but I see National having better tools to lead us out of the COVID recession. Be aware that your electoral vote is often a foregone conclusion in many districts. An ACT List MP vying for an electorate probably doesn’t have a great chance unless it’s in a small district with a high population of outdoors/hunters/firearms owners present.

I’m voting ACT because David Seymour didn’t give in to the crowd when everyone deserted us. He speaks well, is highly intelligent, and most importantly, he believes strongly in our right to go about our business unhindered by unnecessary government restrictions; his views are part libertarianism, which I also believe in. I’ve heard talk of a three-way coalition between New Conservative/ACT/National; however, if you look at policy, ACT and New Conservative (NC) are polar opposites on a lot of key topics, and to me, this’ll create division and make governing more complex. NC also, most likely, won’t get over the 5%; I’ve nothing against them, but the safe vote is ACT.

Lastly, I’m not a fan of single-issue voting, so please, whatever way you vote, look at the parties’ entire policies and make sure they align with you. We’re a complex and diverse set of people, but if ever the firearms/hunting community or anyone who values a government that won’t trample on our rights needs to come together, it’s now. If we can shock the political world with our unity and gain ACT a good number of seats, we’ll send a strong message to political parties in the future that we will not be railroaded again.

Steve Collins

Owner, Steve’s Wholesale

I strongly believe this Labour government, backed by the Greens, fundamentally do not want private firearm ownership and our game animals to exist. If they get back into power, the tahr won’t be their only target – the wapiti herd and others are just as vulnerable.

Never before has it been more important to protect our way of life from these urban socialists who lack real work experience, common sense and the ability to actually think outside a far-left agenda.

In this election, there’s only one way to make your party vote count and that’s voting for a party that will get into parliament. Any other vote is wasted. I’ve never voted for ACT before, but who else is standing up for firearm owners and will get into parliament?

Jeremy Hanaray

writer, rod&Rifle & owner, rivers to ranges

Voting time … let’s be real about it – it’s always been a two-horse race! Blue vs red. I can clearly remember the last election: the NATS out in the lead, and when the votes finally closed, they were still the overall winner! But then it all went horribly wrong with the full balance of power thrown to NZ First who ultimately decided who would govern. And then that terrible decision was made to tie the noose with Labour and their sidekicks the Greens who have in turn strangled all of us.

Well, this taught me a huge lesson, that’s for sure, and more importantly, how to vote. The last thing any outdoor enthusiast needs is for that same coalition to be in power again come September. So, let’s all be honest – if you have a firearms licence, or if you simply enjoy fishing and the outdoors, we desperately need to change this current government!

The parties that are clearly on our side are the NATS and ACT which have already stated that they can and will work together – so I know where I’ll be casting my vote.

Craig Wilson

director, New Zealand Ammunition Company

This is an important election for the great number of Kiwis who enjoy hunting and shooting – we need to make a statement at the ballot box. It’s also important for people who aren’t necessarily users of firearms but believe in freedom balanced with responsibility.

We have an opportunity to back representatives whom we can trust to resist the influence of those who will denigrate our sport, industry, recreation and lifestyle; if we don’t take it, we’ll remain the victims of those who are negatively influencing our lives – often for no real gain other than to their own popularity or image.

Ben Brown

writer, rod&Rifle

With such a rich history of New Zealanders attaining prodigious achievements in the great outdoors, locally and overseas, how could a democratic system not pay respect to our pioneering deerstalkers and wilderness enthusiasts who had the foresight to liberate numerous big game animals in the early 1900s? These animals, now, are an integral part of so many New Zealanders’ lives and provide soul-enriching nutrients, everlasting memories and a stainable source of income. So why are our majestic big game animals considerably devalued and under constant threat of mass culling, unsustainable commercial recovery and extremist ideologies?

Hence, now more than ever, we – as New Zealanders, hunters and firearm holders – need to think pragmatically around whom we entrust influential decision-making to. It’s evident that Act and the National Party share the same ideologies and understand hunting in New Zealand is a way of life for so many. Personally, hunting has made me into the person I am, so when my whole way of life is in jeopardy and change is paramount, it’s easy to know where my vote is going.

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