Disappointment at government’s continuation of the ban on hunting under Alert Level 3 has angered many hunters. Nicole McKee, spokesperson for the Fair and Reasonable Campaign of Council of Licence Firearm Owners (COLFO) expressed extreme disappointment at the government’s decision.
“Based on the anger I’ve seen in my emails and on social media, I’m not alone,” she said. “Especially when other activities with higher injury rates than hunting can go ahead.”
Nicole McKee cited mountain biking as a sport resulting in far more injuries than hunting.
“But I guess that’s the hobby for the politicians and bureaucrats who have embraced making decisions for us,” she said. “To put it politely, I don’t agree with the Government’s stance.”
Slap in Face
The continuing ban was inconsistent and felt like another slap in the face directed at licenced firearms owners by government.
COLFO had expressed a sincere desire to work with officials to show how many forms of hunting could be safe.
A condition to hunt only in your region’ – or ‘hunt, but you must take these precautions so that it is safe’, would have satisfied the hunting public.
“Instead, Wellington just said ‘stuff off, no hunting’,” she added.
A valid point was that it was very arguably safer going solo in the bush for a day hunt than going to the local crowded supermarket. And for many, it was not just a sport or a lifestyle, but a way of supplementing food and filling the freezer. Four weeks at Level 4 could easily deplete the deep freeze and many hunters needed to refill.
She had been in contact with the COLFO legal team to analyse the justification.
The lawyers advised that they needed to see the Health Act Order (the legal instrument of the ban, which has not been made public), but they expected that the Recreational Spaces Subsection was likely to exclude hunting to align with the COVID-19 website and Government announcements. As the Order was not yet available, many people were arguing on hunters’ behalf for the activity with limitations to be reinstated and not written into the exclusion section.
Nicole McKee expressed concern at the lack of transparency around the decision-making at the top level whenever it involved firearms or firearms sports.