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Taxpayer to fund hunting lobby group

25 September 2008
Taxpayer to fund hunting lobby group

The Government and United Future are keeping close to their chests the cost of creating yet more hunting advocacy and advice groups, and which recreation services will be cut to pay for them.

The Conservation Minister and United Future today announced two additions to the bevy of tax-payer funded hunting groups - a committee for creating a Big Game Hunting Council and a Wild Animal Control Advisory Committee. These follow last year's Wild Game Animal Panel.

"The big unanswered question is how much these committees will cost, and what area of recreation funding will be cut to cover that cost," Green Party MP Metiria Turei says.

"It is likely that core DoC recreational work on huts and tracks will suffer as a result of the funds now diverted to fund a hunting lobby.

"That is, unless United Future leader Peter Dunne, who is also Minister of Revenue, plans to levy the beneficiaries of the announcement - the hunting community.

"Not only are we likely to see cost-cutting in other recreation areas to fund these groups, but equally important user groups - such as trampers, climbers and river-users - will not benefit from similar Government sponsorship of their lobbying and research efforts, and an equal voice in public land management.

"The Green Party would like an assurance from the Minister that increased Government sponsored representation of the hunting lobby will not result in any impact on conservation values or recreation opportunities," Mrs Turei says.

"It is still unclear why hunting has been singled out for Government funding, but political reality would suggest the election and the tussle between United Future, the Kiwi Party and National for the hunting vote is part of it.

"Thank goodness the Government didn't fall into a worse trap of changing the Conservation Act - as the National Party and United Future would like - to grant hunter control over Conservation Boards.

"The Green Party acknowledges that the hunting lobby could be more effectively organised, and that DoC could improve engagement with hunters for the benefit of hunting, recreation and conservation. But this does not require additional Government funded bodies."


ENDS

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