Outdoors Public Urged to Vote Wisely September 20
A national game hunting advocacy, the Sporting Hunters Outdoor Trust, wants anglers and hunters to carefully examine political party policies and then vote wisely at the general election on September 20.
Laurie Collins, West Coast conservationist and convenor of the Sporting Hunters Outdoor Trust (SHOT) said it was vital to first and foremost vote.
"Too many New Zealanders - about 800,000 - did not vote last election. Apathy reigned," he said.
But on September 20, it was vital everyone voted as under the current coalition government, New Zealand's outdoors heritage and way of life was under three.
Frankly this election was very crucial to both environment and outdoor sports like hunting and fishing said Laurie Collins.
It was important New Zealanders had a full understanding of MMP and that there were two separate votes, one for the party, the other the electorate candidate.
"SHOT is apolitical, i.e. no political allegiance," said Laurie Collins. "But members are so alarmed at government policies that are threatening to ruin the environment and wilderness bird life and impact on the public's hunting and fishing."
Many hunters also fished for trout and saltwater species so he made no apology for voicing concerns over the outdoor recreational sports generally.
"Recreational sea fishers have had snapper and blue cod bag limits cut with no corresponding reduction in commercial quota and pressure. Corporate commercial fishing companies have easy access to ministers whereas the recreational public are often snubbed by government and ministries," he said.
The cutting of bag limits on Auckland snapper was not matched by a reduction in commercial quota while Marlborough Sounds mismanagement was characterised by discrimination against recreational fishers".
Laurie Collins gave examples of 61 percent of the public's rivers were unfit for bathing in, the taking of public rivers for large scale corporate dairying irrigation, nitrate contamination of rivers and the ecosystem, government letting foreign oil exploration rights in public forest parks, selling of high country to foreigners and mass poisoning of public lands under the guise of "pest" control, with 1080 poisons from government's SOE 1080 centre .
"Frankly government is ignoring the fishing and hunting public in favour of corporate interests and commercial exploitation," he said.
The outdoor public had a chance this election to send a strong message to politicians.
He reiterated the importance of strategic voting by using the party and candidate vote separately.
Whatever way individuals decided to vote, it was very important the public and hunters and fishermen realised there were two distinct and independent votes in the party and candidate vote on September 20.
"If you vote National for candidate for example you don't have to vote National for party. Similarly if voting for a Labour candidate and you can tick any other party for the party vote."
Laurie Collins had a last piece of advice and that was to consider all parties but particularly minor parties.
"The strength of a voice in Parliament may come down after September 20 to the strength of minor parties in Parliament. Make close and careful examination of all party policies."
He said currently it seemed "one or two"minor parties were far more attuned to outdoor recreation than the main ones.
"Think. Weigh up your options and vote as best you think for fishing and hunting," he said.
The Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations (CORANZ) of which SHOT was a member had prepared an election charter, sent it to parties and would be analysing responses and then publicly rating party policies said Laurie Collins.