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The Tahr Cull Continues…

New Conservative is appalled by the lack of consultation provided by DOC to stakeholders in the management of the New Zealand Tahr herd by not following protocol and not allowing all stakeholders to consult on the plan proposed. DOC released its new Tahr control plan just 2 days before the Tahr Plan Implementation Liaison Group meeting, and just 2 weeks prior to commencement of culling operations on 1st July. Once again, a Government agency has made a mockery of a supposed consultation process.

New Conservative is calling on the government to recognise our game animals for the resource they are, stop the cull proceeding, allow all interested stakeholders to review the Himalayan Tahr Control Plan 1993, and set in place a sound management system for the Tahr herd. This needs to be based on scientific research, protecting native flora and fauna, whilst continuing to allow for the recreational and commercial hunting opportunities valued by so many New Zealanders to be protected for generations to come.

DOC have failed again to listen to New Zealand Hunters & Outfitters regarding the management of NZ Tahr. In early 2018 DOC estimated the Tahr population to be around 35,000 animals. Since then, more than 15,000 Tahr have been culled through a combination of official control, commercial and recreational hunting operations. There are now estimated to be around 20,000 animals left with about 5,000 or so breeding nannies.

The new plan proposes a further 250 helicopter hours (up from the 80 hours in the previous plan) with the capacity to kill 30 animals an hour and a major focus on both nannies and bulls in two of our National Parks. This will further slash Tahr numbers by an additional 7,000 animals.

This new agenda will greatly affect all Kiwi hunters who regularly ‘hit the hills’ to undertake the challenge of hunting Tahr; whether it be for their own enjoyment (with multiple physical and mental benefits), providing food for their families, or wanting a trophy to bring home.

Over the last 20 years, commercial Tahr hunting has grown exponentially in popularity where many international hunters come to New Zealand to score themselves a trophy bull Tahr from the only easily huntable population in the world.

Not only does this plan affect the multiple hunting businesses around the South Island and the jobs of these hunting guides, it also affects all of the supporting businesses such as helicopter pilots, suppliers of 4WD accessories, hunting gear suppliers, and outdoor clothing stores. These are very real jobs, many of which are already struggling in a post COVID world. With limited to no tourists coming across our borders, why would we want to decimate another avenue of their incomes?

Conservation land belongs to New Zealanders and the animals belong to the public, not the Conservation Minister. Government officials are public servants who are supposed to serve the public; not further their own agendas. The Conservation Authority's mission statement is, "To ensure for the people of New Zealand, that the richness of New Zealand’s natural and cultural heritage is valued, restored, maintained, and cared for by all, in order to enhance our environment and quality of life". This government has done nothing but take democracy and consultation from the very people it is supposed to serve.

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