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Fish and Game Important Public Environmental Advocate

Fish and Game Important Public Environmental Advocate

Fish and Game NZ is a vital environmental public watchdog and needs full government support - not abuse - in its important role says the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers.

The comment by spokesman and life member Ken Sims of Manawatu came following Conservation Minister Nick Smith's attempt to water down Fish & Game NZ’s advocacy for clean rivers so as to allow more intensive commercial development such as mega-dairy farming. In doing so the minister criticised Federation president David Haynes’ version of events at a Fish and Game NZ council meeting and allegedly personally threatened Haynes with defamation action.

“The Federation is concerned not only with the attacks on its President by the Conservation Minister, but also with alleged attacks and alleged threats by the Minister on Fish and Game’s future role.” The Federation's president Mr. David Haynes of Nelson was castigated by Conservation Minister Smith after attending a public Fish and Game NZ council meeting and reporting that the minister had strongly pressured the organisation.

"Rivers are public resources and must be treated with respect,' said Ken.”That 60% of the public’s rivers are rated as unfit for swimming is not respectful. In fact it's a disgrace.

Government and Ministers like Smith have an obligation to look after the greater public interest."

Fish & Game NZ statutory role was to advocate for clean rivers and lakes and healthy aquatic habitat, he added. “They do so very successfully on behalf of all recreational users of the public resource, despite their only source of funding being licence sales from the fishing and shooting public”.

The overwhelming support expressed by other recreational groups, NGO’s and the general public for Fish & Game NZ over this incident is testament to both the high regard they are held in, and the professionalism with which they do their job, added Ken Sims.

Ends.

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