Hunters versus DoC In Court
Hunters versus DoC In Court.
The hunters of New Zealand have just spent a day in court trying to get the Department of Conservation to consult with them! "A really simple requirement of the Wild Animal Control Act but ignored by DoC." says Alan Simmons Co Leader of the NZ Outdoors Party. "It is a complete disgrace that hunters have had to raise tens of thousands of dollars for a court case to get a government department to follow the law. Worse still is that public money is being used to defend the Department's actions against the people it is supposed to serve."
In contravention of Section 23 (c) of the Wild Animal Control Act, which obliges DoC to consult with recreational hunters on such issues, DoC made a unilateral decision in 2014 to consult only with the commercial helicopter operators and processors giving them open slather on the deer in the Ruahine Forest Park, including the Taurarua and Rimutuka mountains. Hunters are trying to show that the agreement DoC made with these commercial operators was significant and adversely affected New Zealand recreational hunters role in wild animal control. "DoC seem to have lost all touch with the very people they are supposed to be managing the land for." Said Alan Simmons.
A positive result from this court case could have far reaching effects on how DoC treats recreational hunters in the future.
Concerns of hunters were initially raised last year in a meeting between the Lower North Island Red Deer Foundation, the Associate Minister of Conservation and DoC, nevertheless, the Department proceeded to remove prior restrictions on commercial helicopter deer operations across substantial areas of the Lower North Island public conservation estate, despite repeated calls for consultation from the LNIRDF, NZ Deerstalkers, the Game Animal Council (GAC) and the wider hunting public.
"In this instance DoC refused to engage with hunters and statutory bodies such as the Game Animal Council and rather pandered to commercial interests despite the absence of any scientific data supporting a need for such mass deer culling. In the absence of proper DoC funding it appears that the commercial imperative is pushing DoC to favour private enterprise's needs over those of who use and own the estate - the public." A new funding mechanism for DoC is urgently needed such as the Outdoors Party tourist conservation levy." Alan Simmons said.
The Outdoors Party congratulate the Lower North Island Red Deer Foundation for raising the money and pursuing this to court against considerable odds. We also wish to see the Game Animal Council elevated from a consultative body only to one which is elected by the hunting community and has full responsibility for managing our national game animal herds.