New Zealand Politician Tells NRA to 'Bugger Off,' Stay Out of Country's Affairs

The National Rifle Association has been told to "bugger off" from meddling in New Zealand's affairs as the country undertakes gun law reform in the wake of the attacks on two mosques, which left 50 people dead.

Former Police Minister Judith Collins, of the center right National Party, described how she had tried to introduce stricter gun laws in New Zealand but was met with opposition from the country's gun industry and lobbyist groups.

Collins said she and other members of parliament received large amounts of material that appeared to have been sourced from the NRA.

"They talked about how we were trying to take away their Second Amendment rights to own guns. We don't have a right to bear arms. To own a gun in New Zealand is absolutely a privilege and not a right. When I met with these lobbyists they spoke the language of the NRA," she told the The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

She added that she still received similar material but now just deletes it. "Firstly, I am no longer the police minister, so I don't have to read them. But also I know what my position is, and it is not going to change. We have lost 50 people," Collins said.

The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that all military style semi-automatic guns and assault rifles would be banned in the country after the terror attacks in Christchurch. The move was praised by many, including U.S. Democrats who have called for gun law reforms in their own country.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York wrote while tweeting a link to Ardern's announcement: "Sandy Hook happened 6 years ago and we can't even get the Senate to hold a vote on universal background checks w/ #HR8. Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market. This is what leadership looks like."

Responding to the comment from Ocasio-Cortez, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch tweeted: "That's also what an entirely different country that doesn't have the right to bear arms as a cornerstone of its constitution, in addition to numerous state laws. It's also what confiscation and banning most semi-auto looks like, too."

In a reply to Senator Bernie Sanders's call for the ban on the sale and distribution of assault weapons, Loesch said: "First, define 'assault weapon.' Words are important and certain laws come into play depending on which words are used, so define this. Secondly, the U.S. isn't NZ. While they do not have an inalienable right to bear arms and to self defense, we do."

According to The Associated Press, there are around 1.5 million guns in New Zealand, which has a population of about 5 million, and nearly 250,000 licensed gun owners.

Judith Collins
National Member of Parliament Judith Collins talks to media before a National Party caucus meeting at Parliament on December 12, 2016, in Wellington, New Zealand. Collins told the NRA to "bugger off" as New Zealand prepares to enact sweeping gun law reform. Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images