Hunters upset over law change

04:00, Jun 08 2012

Keen hunter Tony Orman of Blenheim does not want to see the Department of Conservation placed in charge of large game animal management.

Mr Orman is part of a the Sporting Hunters' Outdoor Trust (Shot), which is fighting aspects of a Game Animal Council Bill before Parliament.

Shot was formed last year to lobby on the management of deer and other game animals, he told the Marlborough Express.

In a submission to the local government and environment committee considering the bill, Shot applauded the bill's intention of managing deer, chamois, tahr and wild pigs as game rather than for extermination, Mr Orman said.

However, Shot was unhappy that the council would be answerable to the minister of conservation and DOC and that the minister could appoint council members, he said.

"When you have DOC managing on conservation and biodiversity grounds it becomes extermination," he said.


Recreational hunting interests were under-represented on the council, said Mr Orman. Proposed membership included representatives of commercial game, safari and game estate operators as well as the New Zealand Deer Farmers' Association, Federated Farmers, the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand and iwi.

Shot member Bud Jones of Wairarapa told the select committee last month that in its present form, the bill stacked the cards in favour of the conservation minister, DOC and commercial interests. The recreational hunting public were secondary and powerless.

In a submission to the select committee, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, said she was concerned about the bill's potential to interfere with effective pest control.

"As I concluded in my 2010 report, Evaluating the use of 1080: Predators, poisons and silent forests, possums, rats, and stoats are destroying our native plants and birds where they are unchecked by pest control," said Dr Wright. "They are unchecked on the great majority of conservation land."

Dr Wright said the council's function of managing herds of national significance could conflict with the need for DOC to use 1080 to protect native plants and animals.

Council objectives might hamper or delay the use of 1080, yet use of the pesticide was often time-critical, for example when heavy fruiting of native trees led to rat and subsequently stoat population explosions.

Dr Wright recommended that the committee considering the bill satisfied itself that the Game Animal Council could not prevent or delay the use of 1080. She asked that the committee recommend to Parliament that the use of aerial 1080 for conservation purposes must override any herd management objective of the council.

The committee is due to report to the Government in September.

The Marlborough Express