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Submission Guide: Game Animal Council Bill

Eugenie Sage MP
Eugenie Sage MP
eugenie [dot] sage [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)

The date for sending in a submission on this issue has passed.

Submissions Due:
20th April 2012

The bill is a lollipop to keep United Future onside with National’s asset sales agenda.

  • There is absolutely no need for this bill. Recreational hunting areas already exist under current legislation.
  • It does not recognise the severe damage that deer and other introduced pests cause to our treasured and special wild places.
  • Almost every decade since the 1930s deerstalkers have approached the Crown with their proposal to control hunting on Crown land. Successive Ministers have considered the proposal and rejected it until this one.

Image: Nuytsia

Submissions can be made via Catherine Corser or the online form.

What the Bill does

The Bill establishes a new Game Animal Council (GAC) to influence how areas of conservation land should be managed when they have “herds of special interest” of deer, thar, feral pigs and chamois.

The GAC which will be dominated by hunting representatives may block, delay or strongly control DoC’s pest control work to protect native plants and native wildlife. Hunting interests are likely to oppose culls of Himalayan thar which DoC does to protect alpine vegetation and our national parks.

When making your submission, highlight that the NZ Conservation Authority (NZCA) has advised that this bill is not necessary and that the confidence and supply deal with United Future could be fulfilled under existing legislation (for example establishing a National Recreational Hunting Advisory Committee under section 29 of the Wild Animal Control Act).

Given that United Future requires the establishment of a Game Animal Council as part of their confidence and supply arrangements with National you might want to make some of the following suggestions to reduce the conflict between the Game Animal Council and conservation.

Suggest that:

  • The bill should be amended so that it is clear that biodiversity and conservation values must have priority in any conflict between indigenous biodiversity values and hunting management of wild animals.
  • Oppose the GAC being given any statutory management or decision-making functions as this would certainly undermine the Department's ability to manage conservation lands and wild animals such as deer, chamois, thar, and feral pigs.
  • The bill should prohibit the release of chamois, deer, tahr and pigs.

Highlight that:

  • A special interest group such as the GAC is likely to make decisions which could favour their hunting interests over conservation.
  • Research and past experience shows that recreational hunting of deer and thar does not reduce their numbers enough to protect the health of our forests or alpine grasslands.

Other Points to consider making

  • The NZ Conservation Authority (NZCA) has repeatedly warned against setting up of the Game Animal Council.
  • With substantial funding and staffing cuts across the state sector there is no need for a new agency costing around $100,000-$300,000 annually.
  • Having DoC fund partially fund the GAC would divert scarce funds from valuable biodiversity work.
  • Existing stakeholder groups such as NZ Deerstalkers’ Association adequately represent hunters. There is no need for the GAC.
  • The GAC won’t provide the Minister or DoC with “balanced advice” because it is dominated by hunting interests. There is no requirement for members with scientific or ecological expertise.
  • See the links below and to the right for more ideas and information.

Make it count - Have your voice heard

Good submissions are personalised. They draw on your personal experiences to illustrate points. Be concise and state your major points of opposition clearly at the start of your submission. It's easier for MPs to read submissions that get straight to the point about the concerns being raised.

We recommend opting to speak to your submission - simply include a line like: "I wish to appear before the select committee to speak to my submission." You can opt out later if it will not work for you - but speaking to the submission means it will carry more weight.

How to make a Submission

Submissions can be made via Catherine Corser or the online form.

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