ACT Backs Wapiti Herd and Opposes Forest and Bird’s Call

“Forest & Bird’s threatened legal action against Fiordland’s wapiti (elk) management programme would be a massive own goal for conservation,” says ACT Conservation spokesman Cameron Luxton.

“For 13 years, DOC has had an arrangement with the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation, in which hunters can pay for ballot access to target this prized species for recreational hunting. This means population management of an introduced species is effectively provided for free, privately. And to top it off, the Foundation culls deer, traps pests, and maintains the National Park’s back country huts.

“If it weren’t for this arrangement, DOC would be unable to manage deer or wapiti in Fiordland. Like all departments, DOC must prioritise its limited resources, and it has 85 higher-ranked deer and goat management areas across New Zealand.

“So what’s Forest & Bird’s problem? They’re arguing the hunter-led programme breaches the National Parks Act because it aims to manage, not exterminate, the wapiti population. So now they’re considering legal options.

“Forest & Bird’s self-defeating, purist stance aims for an impossible standard while alienating potential allies. Hunters are natural champions of nature and the land, and would happily join the campaign against real threats like the rats and stoats wreaking havoc on native birdlife. Yet Forest & Bird is picking a fight with them. It’s just madness.

“And of course, legal action would be costly for DOC. Precious funding meant for trapping pests would be diverted toward lawyers’ fees, at a time when government departments are being asked to spend more sensibly.

“Fiordland’s vast and difficult terrain makes combing for wapiti hugely time and resource-intensive for DOC, but here we have a group of hunters who aren’t just willing to do the job – they happily pay for the pleasure of it. It’s a win-win-win for recreation, the environment, and the taxpayer; a gold standard in partnership between government and community. ACT backs the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation all the way.”


Cameron Luxton – “So what’s Forest & Bird’s problem?” 

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6 Responses to ACT Backs Wapiti Herd and Opposes Forest and Bird’s Call

  1. Joe Heatherton says:

    Well spoken Cameron Luxton and ACT. New Zealand has this strange, off-the-planet phobia against introduced species but it’s very selective and hypocritical and of course totally unrealistic. After all, all humans were introduced by way of migration.

  2. James Squire says:

    In 1958, a Californian Professor of Zoology Dr William Graf, came to New Zealand on behalf of the Hawaiian board of Agriculture to study New Zealand’s wild deer situation. Hawaii was contemplating introducing deer but having heard of New Zealand’s “deer problem” asked Dr Graf to view the New Zealand experience first hand.
    Dr Graf assessment angered government department bureaucrats such as those in NZ Forest Service because he emphatically rejected the notion of deer as pests and said an “anti-exotic animal phobia” was so entrenched that “much of the public as well as many government officials do not – and cannot – view the situation in an objective perspective.”
    Forest and Bird come into Dr Graf’s assessment.
    Moa in their several millions according to scientific estimates (Dr Graeme Caughley) browsed NZ’s vegetation for millions of years, so our “bush” has evolved under robust browsing pressure. Browsing is a component of the ecosystem’s functioning.
    Would Forest and Bird rail against moa being in Fiordland?

  3. Stewart Hydes says:

    Go ACT .. well done .. a sensible voice in a sea of F&B stupidity …

  4. James says:

    Very disappointing stance from Forest and Bird.
    The thousands of deer culled by the Wapiti Foundation, and the thousands of hours voluntered by members of the foundation servicing rat/stoat traps doesn’t cost the tax payer a cent, and is achieving measurable positive outcomes for both the Wapiti herd and the native biodiversity.
    Rather then undermine what the FWF/DOC relationship has achieved, Forest and Bird should be commending the results and promoting the model to other areas and herds of interest.

  5. Charles Baycroft says:

    The Forest and Bird activists are not called twigs and twits for nothing.
    Their obsession with birds causes them to hate all other species and assume that the species they hate ought to be eradicated so that only birds are left.
    Their ambition would result in impenetrable dense bush with some birds in it.
    Who would benefit from that?
    The deer were brought here to add some biodiversity and provide opportunities to hunt and eat healthy natural food.
    Generations of New Zealand people have appreciated and enjoyed getting out into nature to hunt, fish and gather. It’s in our genes to do so.
    Now a small minority of nutty bird people want to deprive the rest of us from what we enjoy for their own selfish benefit but With Our Money.
    Taxpaying workers are already struggling to house and feed their families. Some free, healthy venison might help?
    We certainly cannot afford to keep spending Billions of our incomes on the impossible ambition to eradicate the lovely introduced species.
    ACT seems to be the only political party that has common sense instead of irrational aspirations to waste our money on projects that provide no benefit for the people who are forced to pay for them.
    The best thing anyone can do to help get New Zealand out of the hole it has been out into by irresponsible fools in government is to join, support and get involved in the ACT party.
    ACT stands for less government authority and waste of workers’ incomes and more freedom and ownership of our own lives.
    Come on Kiwis. Get ACTive and help restore NZ to the great nation it used to be.

  6. Paul says:

    Yes it’s definitely madness from Forest & Bird.
    I have been involved with the trapping since it commenced & have seen the results of improved Whio numbers. The Kea Conservation Trust has been involved with Kea in the Wapiti area in recent years & have commented that it is one of the best populations in the country. Continued trapping will help these birds as well as many others.
    I sincerely hope the legal challenge will be dropped so the conservation efforts continue there into the future.

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