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Fish and Game Double Speak

4 August 2004
PR 168/04

Fish and Game Double Speak

Fish and Game New Zealand should publicly correct its statement that North Island Canada geese populations are well contained by its North Island Fish and Game councils, said Charlie Pedersen, Vice President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

Any member of the public can read the 2002/3 annual report of the Wellington region of Fish and Game, which says: "We have to find ways, and smartly, to substantially increase the legitimate harvest of them (Canada geese) by our licence holders."

According to the report, numbers of Canada geese had grown so large that urgent action was necessary to lower their population.

"They are not easy to hunt, with only a modest number of hunters choosing to go after them, but they have an ability to increase numbers quite quickly, and they can damage a lot of pasture very quickly," the report said.

Those statements contradict a press release issued yesterday by Fish and Game New Zealand, in which spokesperson Jay Graybill says "In the North IsIand the Canada Geese populations are well contained by North Island Fish and Game councils".

Farmers in the North Island struggling with flocks of the grubby geese know which statement is correct -- and it's not Mr Graybill's.

Mr Graybill's use of statistics is also misleading. The 1995 Canada geese management plan committed Fish and Game to reduce the South Island goose population to 20,350, excluding the West Coast.

But Fish and Game's own survey provided to Federated Farmers shows that the population at the end of June 2003 was 27,257 -- well wide of its commitment.

Federated Farmers members suggest that the survey underestimates the actual population by several thousand.

"It's time for Fish and Game to accept an independent review of the status of Canada goose as a protected game bird, and welcome Conservation Minister Chris Carter's sensible decision to progress the review," Mr Pedersen said.


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