Michael Dowling - COLFO NZ Guns & Hunting Address
Dear Reader of NZ Guns and Hunting,
I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself as chair of COLFO.
My name is Michael Dowling; I live in Wellington and have been on the COLFO Board for a little over a year now. I was originally approached by the board and asked to consider the role as chair; I agreed to sit on the board as an independent member for the first year.
I am a bona fide collector of firearms; I have enjoyed this interest for over 25 years. I have been involved in the NZ Territorial Army for around the same time, originally training as an armourer attached to an infantry unit and latterly to an Intelligence unit.
I am a financial adviser by profession and sit on a number of voluntary boards from a Victim Support local group committee to being the New Zealand delegate to an Australian planner board; these all require finding the right balance of time between doing the job for members and communicating with them what has been done. One of the major issues any organisation faces when it has voluntary membersn is striking the right balance between activity and communication.
I intend to communicate bi-monthly what COLFO is doing on your behalf; I do not expect these to be long articles, just a couple of paragraphs.
In March I attended a range symposium in Christchurchn organised by the police which allowed me to meet a number of organisation leaders and canvas their views.
Please do not be offended if I cannot make the first offer; a number of people have been surprised to find my role is voluntary and as such unpaid.
COLFO has had presence at the Sika and Thar Shows in Christchurch and Taupo.
We have had meetings with police at various levels and are setting up regular meetings at a national level. We have met with a small number of politicians, but been in contact with more.
The intent here is to build long term relationships to influence change.
Two of our members attended a recent UN meeting in New York. While some might question the merit of being involved internationally, it is relevant for a number of our interests and the future of your sports, recreation and hobbies.
The UN is made up of member countries who decide on global issues. There are member countries whose only experience of civilian firearms ownership is that of gangs and militia. It is therefore no surprise that they want to ban civilian ownership. Some of the controls being proposed under the Program of Action and Arms Trade Treaty affect our enjoyment and opportunities.
Existing controls on the transportation of ammunition and firearms have meant that collectors find it hard to get firearms sent to New Zealand, competitors and hunters find it hard to travel overseas on hunting trips, or to compete in international events. Some of the proposals will drastically increase the cost of transportation in the future, and the price we pay for firearms and ammunition. Our intent is to ensure the controls match the level of risk civilian ownership represents.
At the AGMs that I have already attended, I have pointed out that it is a mistake to rely on COLFO to be the sole voice of every organisation, on every issue. One of our mandates is to correct statements made in the press if they wrong. However, we would be concerned if we were the only voice in the press, as your own disciplines are able to understand and represent an issue better than COLFO in some instances.
I look forward to meeting you in the future.