I have confirmed the details of the bolt-action rifle classified by Police as being a semi-automatic. The Steyr AUG has recently been produced in a straight pull bolt action model; similar to the H&K R8. The New Zealand Police recently inspected one of these bolt action rifles pending import into New Zealand. They classified it as semi-automatic.
Legal definition of a semi-automatic (Arms Act section 2)
"a firearm which, after being loaded, fires, ejects, and chambers a cartridge with each pull of the trigger"
Lawyers for the importers wrote to Police:
"We are puzzled about that view, given that the firearm in question has, by the manufacturer, been made a straight pull bolt action rifle. It does not, therefore, after being loaded, fire, eject and chamber a cartridge with each pull of the trigger."
Inspector Joe Green replied:
"The Police Armourer has demonstrated that all of the working of the semi automatic are retained with the exception of the gas assembly attached to the barrel. By simply replacing the barrel with one with this attached, and which is the original design of the firearm (a very simple process) the firearm is returned to semi automatic. That is, to its original form. This is a non technical explanation Police are happy to expand on."
If you have a firearm that can be converted from a bolt action to a semi-automatic then that firearm is a semi-automatic regardless of whether it's been converted or not?
Maybe we should have a game of "think up a misinterpretation"... hmmm let me see.. well it doesnt fire a cartridge (it fires a projectile)... nor does it load a cartridge after the last round is fired.. well that settles it... theres no such thing in NZ law as a semi-automatic !