Anger at police as the hunting 'idiots' return

Last updated 06:15 26/02/2014
Tangahoe Valley Rd resident Jill Hardy says police have let her down.
Fairfax NZ

FRUSTRATED: Tangahoe Valley Rd resident Jill Hardy says police have let her down.

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A resident along a remote Taranaki road says police are doing little to protect life and property from illegal hunters.

Tangahoe Valley Rd resident Jill Hardy says "little idiots" are still peppering farmland with gunfire months after authorities said they would intervene.

Authorities say they are doing everything they can to deal with a difficult issue.

Ms Hardy said her latest complaint, laid against a group shooting from a picnic table on to her land, had gone nowhere.

"They were on a public area, near the boat club, shooting across the lake at my place," she said.

"We were told no offence had been committed.

"I can't understand why police would take that line."

However, Inspector Blair Telford said police treated every complaint seriously.

Mr Telford said any assertion that nothing had been done was simply untrue.

"The last [complaint] we had was in December last year, where they made a complaint about people firing down there illegally.

"Police actually located those people, and have gone through the process and gathered evidence and all the rest of it. The file then went through an independent review with the prosecution section, and found there was insufficient evidence and no charges were laid."

He said police and the Department of Conservation had met affected residents, who were left in no doubt as to what hunters could and could not do.

"It's my understanding DOC undertook a commitment to do some random patrols of the lake on their boats to see if hunters were complying with the Arms Act, as we do, and also the Wild Animal Control Act," he said.

DOC Taranaki conservation service manager Gareth Hopkins said the department tried to support police wherever possible but the area was out of its jurisdiction, as it was not DOC land.

Ms Hardy said she was not alone in enduring the situation, and contacted the Taranaki Daily News to put the issue back into the spotlight.

She said illegal hunting had died down since the last time she spoke publicly, but in recent months hunters had started to trickle back into the area.

"We just don't feel safe."

She said residents were promised action and expected it.

Opunake Sporting Shooters secretary Trevor Beale said no-one should shoot on to private land without permission.

Beale said the issue came down to ethics, and if club members did something similar, the club would investigate. He said the club worked hard to build relationships with landowners, and illegal hunters were ruining things for everyone.

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- Straight Furrow

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