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Put Fish and Game Council Under The Microscope

29 May 2001 PR 66/2001

Fish and Game Council should be put under the Microscope

"Serious questions must be asked about the Fish and Game Council's use of statutory funds and their accountability to those who pay through compulsory fishing and hunting licenses," FFNZ President Alistair Polson said today.

Mr Polson was commenting on the Fish and Game Council's decision to divert $1 million dollars of its cash reserves into funding environmental court action and to increase its fishing licenses by 10% and hunting licences by 5% to cover increased running costs.

"The Council has declared that it needs to undertake research but before that takes place it has thrown itself "hook, line and sinker" into opposing one specific activity, dairying," said Mr Polson.

"The taxpayer and ratepayers are already paying substantially for the Ministry of the Environment, Department of Conservation and the regional and district councils to monitor the effects of activity on the Environment. Such use of money is open to public scrutiny. The same cannot be said of the Fish and Game Council's use of public funds."

"What other organisation has been given the statutory power to levy with monopoly control over recreational fishing and hunting without greater scrutiny of their accountability processes. This latest announcement suggests that a review of Fish and Game is long overdue."

"Those who live in the South Island know that a study of the economic development in the wake of irrigation schemes would demonstrate a substantial number of jobs coming out of the massive diversification that has occurred. A study of the Waitaki and Opua schemes will show not only jobs created but also significantly enhanced habitats for fish and birdlife."

"Ministers and Parliament must investigate the Fish and Game Council's use of statutory funds for blatantly emotive political activism," concluded Mr Polson.

ENDS:

For further information: Alistair Polson 025 370 085 Sally Millar 025 296 3810

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