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Baldock: Large game animals a resource

Friday, 1 July 2005

Baldock: Large game animals a resource

United Future backs the reclassification of large game animals to ensure they are seen as a resource and not a pest, the party’s outdoors spokesman told the New Zealand Deerstalkers annual conference in Timaru this evening.

In outlining United Future and Outdoor Recreation NZ’s joint principles that under-pinned their policies, Mr Baldock said this wouldn’t mean numbers were allowed to grow uncontrollably, but would enable management geared towards maximising their value as a resource as well as minimising their harm on the environment.

He also renewed United Future’s call for an emergency summit to address the current pest control strategy.

“The Government is spending close to $100 million a year and yet the Department of Conservation has had to acknowledge it is not able to reduce the number of pests or in any way enhance the protection of our native bird species.

“I don’t want to be addressing a meeting in 10 years time knowing that we have spent a further $1 billion and yet are still hearing the same response from DOC.

“We don’t spend that kind of money to tread water in any other area, and neither should we in conservation,” Mr Baldock told the gathering of hunters.

“We need an all-stakeholder roundtable discussion to put all ideas on the table and to evaluate how to spend a billion dollars over the next 10 years that will really knock our noxious pests where they need it.

“But when it comes to deer, tsar and chamois, and other large game animals, it’s time we got real and acknowledged that they will be with us forever. The idea of eradication needs to be abandoned and we need to see that these animals are now part of the New Zealand landscape and should be managed accordingly.

“If it’s okay for Mr Mallard to consider himself indigenous, then surely these animals that have been here for at least 100 years, can make a similar claim,” Mr Baldock said.

United Future is calling for a moratorium on the use of aerial 1080 until the ERMA reassessment has been completed also supports the use of deer-repellent 1080 in future pest control strategies, he said.

He also touched on plans to reform DOC so it was no longer judge and jury in certain situations and to ensure that it focuses on its core business - “managing the New Zealand conservation estate for the benefit of New Zealanders and to rid it from pests that are doing so much damage, and to minimise the damage from pests.”

ENDS

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