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Reclaiming outdoors from tree-huggers' embrace

24 April, 2004

Dunne: Reclaiming outdoors from tree-huggers' embrace

Green issues belong to all New Zealanders, and not just the tree-huggers who have hijacked them, United Future leader Peter Dunne told a one-day outdoor recreation, conservation and environment symposium in Nelson today.

"The trouble is that in recent years, if you haven't been a dread locked hippie or an environmental extremist, you've been locked out of the debate - yet another example of political correctness crippling this country," Mr Dunne said.

Groups invited to the symposium included Fish and Game, the Game and Forest Association, the NZ Four-wheel Drive Association, the Federated Mountain Clubs, Public Access New Zealand, New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council and Commonsense Conservation.

United Future and Outdoor Recreation New Zealand were using the event to bring "real world, real people" input into the forming of their outdoor recreation and environmental policies, Mr Dunne said.

"New Zealanders are, and always have been an outdoors people, but fringe elements have slowly squeezed the average Kiwi out.

"Well, United Future is giving the Green PC brigade the big sideways, and telling the average New Zealander that their views and their enjoyment of the great outdoors are legitimate and real.

"Trampers, hunters, fishers, anyone who ventures into the outdoors have a real and vested interest in preserving it - and frankly their contribution to the debate has a lot more common sense to it than the 'lock it up and keep them out' zealots of the green movement.

"United Future and Outdoor Recreation New Zealand are bringing Kiwis back into the big green picture. This is our country after all," Mr Dunne said.


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