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Minister of Conservation a puppet

Minister of Conservation nothing more than a puppet

The Thar issue demonstrates that the Minister of Conservation Chris Carter is nothing more than a puppet for his narrow-minded advisors, says National’s Conservation spokesperson Shane Ardern.

“Bendigo Station is a successful Thar game park – at least it was until an official drew a line on a map and declared it outside the Thar feral range! Too bad that Bendigo brings in millions of tourist dollars. The line has been set and the Minister of Conservation does not dare tell his officials to change it.

“Thar can be kept in a controlled environment, with culling to ensure that the numbers remain at an acceptable level. They are a majestic animal in their natural alpine environment and attract tourists from all over the world.

“Claims that alpine vegetation is in danger of extinction from Thar is not backed up by the Department of Conservation’s own reports where vegetation monitoring plots show a stable or increase in vegetation quality.

“Thar population, through a combination of commercial and recreational hunting and culling has remained between 7000 and 8000 for the past five years.

“Despite these facts the Minister refuses to over-rule his “bureaucracy gone mad” department, headed by conservation zealots.

“Calls to eliminate Thar because they are not native to New Zealand is just ridiculous. Are we then going to eliminate sheep and cows because they too eat vegetation and are an introduced species?

“Here is a perfect example of a situation where there can be a win-win scenario for everyone - the conservationists, the tourist industry and the recreational hunters.

“New Zealand’s way of life has always been about tramping, hunting, fishing and enjoying the outdoors. We certainly need to make sure that we have good conservation laws so that we can preserve our environment, and outdoor recreational people agree with this. But common sense and natural justice should also play a role.

“The Minister of Conservation should start acting like a proper Minister and listen to all groups with vested interests and not just the favoured few.

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