'Idiots' back hunting illegally
"I can't understand why police would take that line"LAIRD HARPER
A resident on a far-flung South Taranaki road says police are doing little to protect life and property from illegal hunters.
Tangahoe Valley Rd resident Jill Hardy says "little idiots" were still peppering farmland months after authorities said they would intervene.
But authorities say they are doing everything they can to navigate 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 nothing had been done was simply untrue.
"The last one 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 couldn't 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 wasn't DOC land.
Ms Hardy said she was not alone in enduring this 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 they expected it.
Opunake Sporting Shooters Inc secretary Trevor Beale said no one should shoot on to private land without permission.
Mr Beale said the issue came down to ethics and if some club members did something similar, the club would investigate.
He said it worked hard to build relationships with landowners and illegal hunters were ruining it for everyone.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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