Opinion by Ben Hope
Hunting and fishing are two sports deeply ingrained into the Kiwi psyche.
In New Zealand’s egalitarian society, anyone can fish or hunt. It was a legacy the first European settlers instilled into the new colony in order to escape the feudal system of Britain where for example, the best trout fishing, deerstalking or pheasant shooting is the preserve of the wealthy minority who could pay the exorbitant trout and salmon fishing, game bird shooting and deerstalking fees required.
In effect, in New Zealand the kid down the street may go trout fishing on equal terms and rights as the city’s top solicitor, doctor, baker and the candlestick maker or even the Governor General or Prime Minister. So determined were the European settlers to bestow public ownership on fish and game resources that they passed laws forbidding the charging of trout and salmon fishing and duck shooting rights. There is a compelling case to have the same prohibition placed on sea fishing and big game hunting although there are mercenary interests who would resist that.
Today in the 21st century hunting and fishing remain major activities for the public. A Horizon survey of sporting participation rates in 2012 showed fishing had more than five times more people participating than rugby. Twenty-six percent went fishing while just five percent played rugby.
When it came to “getting off the couch”, 25.5 percent of adult men and 18 percent of women fished while with youth, about 35 percent went fishing. Sports such as hunting and fishing are multi-million dollar earners in attracting international tourists.
However a festering threat is a bizarre ideology of a hatred of introduced species largely driven by the Forest and Bird Society and its deep influence on the Department of Conservation. It is hypocrisy in the extreme for all humans are introduced by way of migration and the country’s economy is dominated by primary production utilising introduced species in grapes, sheep, deer, dairy cows, fruit, pasture grasses and many others.
The crazed “anti-introduced” ideology reaches phobic depths as it is driven with an obsessive zeal by its devout disciples. It manifests itself in the haphazard, intensive and extensive use of poisons that are indiscriminate in the species they kill.
Toxins such as 1080 and brodifacoum are in effect “ecosystem poisons” killing or maiming anything that ingests them from insects to birds to animals. The extermationists are so blinded by their zeal that they are destroying the biodiversity which they claim to be protecting.
© Native birds such as curious wekas are poisoned by 1080- and brodifacoum