Hunter says DOC hampering inquiries
A Te Anau hunter who claims he was victimised by Department of Conservation staff after turning whistleblower has accused the department of hampering the investigation into his concerns.
DOC asked external advisers to investigate allegations, made by DOC contract hunter Dave Wilson, that he was victimised by DOC staff after he reported a fellow contract hunter for unsafe handling of firearms.
The investigation, launched before Christmas, is expected to be completed in the next week.
But Mr Wilson said he believed the findings would be incomplete until DOC provided further information to him that he had requested under the Official Information Act.
Under OIA legislation, DOC had 20 working days to respond to Mr Wilson's questions, with the department extending its January 20 deadline so it could provide answers.
Mr Wilson said DOC conservation services group deputy director general Kevin O'Connor had requested a meeting with him in Invercargill on February 20.
"I believe we will be given the outcome of the investigation . . . but if we don't have the answers to our OIAs before then, I would say there's no point in having the meeting."
His OIA questions include a request for the DOC report outlining its findings into the firearms safety complaint he made against a DOC contract hunter at Deep Cove last year.
The contract hunter, Jordan Munn, who later admitted a police charge of leaving a loaded firearm unattended during the trip, is the nephew of Southland DOC boss Allan Munn.
Mr Wilson has alleged that during the period of the police investigation certain members of DOC Te Anau, the Secretary Island hunting crew and Munn's family worked hard to discredit him.
DOC spokesman Rory Newsam confirmed Mr Wilson had made three OIA requests, adding that the answers would be provided to him in the next few days.
Mr Newsam was unable to say if the OIA answers would be taken into account by the external advisers investigating Mr Wilson's concerns.
DOC was in the process of finalising the investigation into Mr Wilson's allegations against its staff.
"We won't be commenting until the parties have been informed," Mr Newsam said.
The Southland Times