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Campfire Kiwi Leading Outdoorsman Cops DOC Vendetta

Campfire Kiwi Leading Outdoorsman Cops DOC Vendetta

The Department of Conservation is bringing a prosecution against the leader of the newly formed NZ Outdoors Party for sitting beside a campfire in the mountains of the central North Island.

Alan Simmons co-leader of the New Zealand Outdoor Party is of the opinion that DOC’s motive is based on his history over years, of publicly questioning policies of the bureaucracy

“It shows the petty nature and complete lack of understanding of the outdoors that has pervaded within the Department in recent years and its disregard the public as taxpayers are fundamentally the employers of the department,” he said. “I didn’t even light the campfire. It’s ludicrous."

Even although DoC were aware he did not light the campfire they seemed intent on taking the veteran outdoorsman to court. Alan Simmons has over 50 years of hunting and fishing in New Zealand and was the author of a book on sika deer hunting.

Alan Simmons said a likely motive for DOC’s court charge probably lay in his opposition to the Hawkes Bay DoC Wild animal Control Plan which was scathingly criticised by the associate Minister and ordered to be renegotiated. Mr Simmons who at that time was president of the Associate Minister of Conservation's political party, United Future, had taken a group of hunters representing clubs of the North island to see the Minister.

Mr Simmons said he as spokesman for the Outdoors Party also confronted a DOC plan for a Taupo carp farm and on national TV and radio, criticised the Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry which led to a back down by DOC and the Minister.

Hunters, fisherman and outdoors people had always been able to have a campfire for cooking and warmth in the bush since time began and for DoC to now ban this by unrealistically making the mountains of NZ a restricted fire season 365 days of the year went against the whole ethos of being a New Zealander. His only involvement was to walk up to a campfire and sit beside it. If DOC's prosecution succeeded it would make New Zealanders a criminal, whether as a family camping by a river or a fisherman or hunter keeping warm or cooking.

"The Department of Conservation have lost their way when it comes to managing public lands,” he said. “They’ve forgotten they’re public servants."
Alan Simmons who operated the popular New Zealand outdoors forum “fishnhunt”, said reaction from the forum's 7,600 members had been strong over the DOC proposed prosecution..
“Judging by the forum the vast majority are furious and a fighting fund had been offered as well as considerable legal advice to challenge DOC’s action.".

Alan Simmons is to appear in the Napier Court tomorrow to face this charge.

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