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Fishing And Shooting Public Overwhelmingly Opposed To Government Interference

The trout fishing and duck shooting public are
overwhelmingly opposed to a proposal to inject Government
appointees into Fish and Game. That is the interim result
from an on-going survey by the New Zealand Federation of
Freshwater Anglers (NZFFA) of the anglers’ and hunters’
opinion of the governance review conducted by the Department
of Conservation.

The NZFFA’s survey facilitator,
Andi Cockroft, said the survey was still underway but
analysis by an independent statistician to review responses,
showed an overwhelming opposition to government appointees
and involvement.

“One could liken this to the State
demanding puppet appointees on the Rugby Union or Cricket
Council. It is virtually a total anathema to the outdoors
public,” he said.

Of those who made invited
comments, ninety five percent of the respondents are
strongly opposed to the recommendation that Government
appointees sit on Fish & Game Councils.

The Acting
Minister of Conservation, Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall, has
accepted, in full, the thirty six recommendations from the
Fish & Game Governance Review written by John Mills and
Belinda Clarke and has asked Fish & Game New Zealand
Council to implement those which do not require legislative
change and is seeking guidance on amendments to the
Conservation Act to enact the rest.

But Cockroft
warned that this was very premature.

“Fish &
Game licence holders have not been asked for their views on
the recommendations. There is a glaring need to consult with
the fishing and shooting public.”

The NZFFA has
written to the chairman of a DOC implementation committee,
Rainsford Grubb, requesting the public be consulted and
looks forward to working with him to this end.

DOC paying former Fish & Game National Chairman Grubb as
chairman and a member of the four person Implementation
Steering Group, tasked with enacting the recommendations
from the Review?” asked Cockroft. “Thus, it is naturally
his priority to push through these changes” said

Cockroft said some of the respondents to the
survey did concede Fish & Game needed improvement and
consequently agreed with a number of review recommendations
such as electing national councillors direct from each
region’s licence holder ranks and regional funding

“But the few calling for improvement were
from one or two regions where there were or had been issues
around conflicts of interest of some councillors,” he
said. “Certainly the vast majority of survey respondents
felt that it is DOC that needs improvement and that DOC were
the least qualified to interfere in Fish & Games’
business given that they have been entirely absent in
freshwater protection and advocacy for over a

The Federation is still receiving responses
to the on-going survey and will continue to analyse them
towards completion.

Cockroft said Mr Grubb had talked
to around 150 regional Fish & Game

“But, the NZFFA wants all the 150,000
Fish & Game licence holders to be consulted – not just
150,” he

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