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Hunting radicals holding heritage to ransom

Hunting radicals holding heritage to ransom

The Green Party is horrified by threats to New Zealand's precious flora and fauna by pro-hunting radicals who claim to have released possums on Kapiti Island, and have threatened to release stoats on Codfish and Stewart Islands, Green Party Associate Environment Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today.

Mr Ewen-Street said the three islands were national natural heritage icons, representing conservation ideals most New Zealanders hold dear.

Kapiti Island was a treasure-house for endangered native bird species, while Codfish Island was fundamental to the kakapo breeding programme and Stewart Island an important home for the kiwi.

"It is unfortunate that a minority of hunters think they have the right to hold New Zealanders to ransom with their threats to our natural heritage.

"If they have succeeded in releasing possums onto Kapiti Island, they will have set back conservation efforts hugely, and mindlessly damaged a valuable and irreplaceable resource," Mr Ewen-Street said.

"These radicals have already succeeded in wasting a large portion of Department of Conservation resources, by tying up DOC staff in checking the islands for the pests claimed to have been released. Possums and stoats are major threats to our native flora and fauna, and their proliferation will hurt hunters as much as they will hurt the rest of us."

Mr Ewen-Street said the claims and threats were a public relations disaster for the hunting lobby.

"By trying to undermine publicly-supported conservation efforts, this marginal fringe of the pro-hunting lobby is turning public opinion against all hunters. Moves like this are selfish, and make all hunters appear irrational and mean-spirited by association."

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