Yes Rob I have been on the phone again to yet another Arms officer in Wellington. There was no mention of the import fee being waved for the World Champs, but the subject of Firearms safety courses was raised, and it was suggested that because it is "only air rifles" and as part of a National team, the RGB could "endorse" the observed competence and safety record of particular members to be of a sufficent standard to be acceptable to Police in the absence of a recognized safety training course such as we have in New Zealand.
I will be on the phone again on Monday to this very nice fellow's superior, just to confirm what I was told to be applicable to us/you as you apply for the visitor Licence.
I would suggest leaving semi auto air rifles behind, mags of more thyan 5 shot capacity and anythying that resembles an assault rifle. Police get really anti those items, and very likely to refuse. Bring a single shot FT air rifle, produce letter from your own RGB, produce our own letter of invitation (after we supply it) and quote the secure storage address (after we confirm and supply it to individual registrants) and chances are looking good for approval.
Despite air rifles being subject to the new legislative changes of licensing, the actual Police doing the approvals are pretty relaxed about air rifles coming in for a competition. The thought of 30-40 arriving on one flight all at once has them rattled though. Be prepared for a little bit of a queue if you all arrive at once on the same plane or at similar times.
Still early days, registrations have not opened yet, (Jan 31st) and I am sure there are plenty of other comps being arranged as an alternative to this event. Only one can win though so stay at home and you miss out. Lots of interest from outside Europe/UK to date, which is what we wanted to see anyway, as it is now within their reach.