Draconian Fish and Game Restructure Proposals Shelved

(special report)

Proposals to radically restructure Fish and Game, that administer and manage trout and salmon fishing and duck and game bird shooting, have been shelved according to a letter from Conservation Minister Kiri Allan sent to the New Zealand Outdoor Party.
Outdoor Party co-leader Alan Simmons said the minister has confirmed there is no time scheduled for legislative changes in the near future and the matter will not be pursued any further. 
The proposals to restructure Fish and Game arose from a review set up by previous Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage who said the intention was to look at governance only. A two person review panel however went beyond this and concluded government appointees and iwi representatives with voting rights would sit on both national and regional fish and game councils while regions would be reduced by amalgamations.
The proposals drew angry reaction from licence holders and organisations such as the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers and Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ and most fish and game regions themselves.
Simmons said an alarming aspect was the lack of consultation with the 150,000 fish and game licence holders whose license money funded fish and game with no input from government.
“It has been financially independent of government with no taxpayer money funding it unlike the Department of Conservation which is totally taxpayer funded,” he said. “It was DOC that was administering the Fish and Game review. Ironically in the opinion of many outdoors Kiwis, it’s DOC that needs a strong, searching review.”
Minister Allan said in her letter that there is widespread agreement within Fish and Game circles for regional amalgamation but that required considerable further consultation. 
“That’s debatable,” said Simmons. “But she did consider Fish and Game to should push on to internally restructure and strengthen governance practices, which I think many feel is justifiable.”
He said he was heartened by the Minister’s assurance that any legislative processes would be done under “normal public engagement and consultation.”
Simmons said he was very concerned of the inadequate consultation that was carried out involving current Fish and Game NZ chairman Ray Grubb talking only to regional councillors.
“That’s just under 150 people, i.e. licence holders whereas there’s probably over 150,000 licence holders in total,” he said.
Tony Orman, of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Councils, a Fish and Game regional councillor for some 30 years, said governments had attempted numerous state takeovers of fish and game and its predecessor acclimatisation societies. The 1968 Hunn Report admitted there had been 10 previous attempts by the State he said with a number since then. 
‘Any organisation can develop faults and wrong cultures,” said Orman. “Look at the culture controversies currently raging over well paid government-funded sports and many would argue local government and parliament needs a shakeup.”
The underlying principle is that Fish and Game is totally funded by fish and game licence holders.
“ Any suggestion of State puppets with voting rights sitting around council tables is anathema to be loathed and resisted,’ said Orman.
He commended Alan Simmons for challenging “the potential State takeover of the public’s fish and game organisation”.

Alan  Simmons – “DOC – not Fish and Game – needs a review”

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5 Responses to Draconian Fish and Game Restructure Proposals Shelved

  1. "Chinook" says:

    The government has long coveted the license money of the fish and game public and what was dressed up as a review of Fish and Game’s governance was turned by a two person DOC – appointed panel, into a thinly disguised attempt to seize control of fish and game sports and dispossess the fish and game organisation of its money, relative independence and political voice.

  2. Stewart Hydes says:

    Congratulations to all involved .. thank goodness a degree of sanity has prevailed.
    Well done, Kiri Allan! .. you have delivered a win, for upholding an important element of New Zealand’s democracy.
    Our government, it’s agencies, and their cohorts really do need to constantly maintain their vigilance for opportunities to “butt out”.
    It would be nice to think those who would undermine our democracy, our freedoms and our way of life would learn their lesson .. but they won’t. Defenders of our freedoms and democracy will need to remain vigilant and on guard .. ready to respond to the next attack.
    Thank You To All Involved .. in achieving this positive outcome.

  3. Frank Henry says:

    Yes thank you Kiri Allan for restoring some common-sense into the fish and game review issue. What a waste the two review panelists were. Those in DoC responsible for the mishandling should be called to account by the minister. I don’t think F&G chair Rainsford Grubb came out of it with much credit, indeed quite to the contrary.

  4. J. B. H. says:

    Can you imagine the government setting up a “kangaroo court” review to seize control of rugby or cricket? Government would buy a fight of the century which makes its manoeuvres by DOC with the fish and game licence-holders all the more inexcusable.

  5. Greg Kemp says:

    Whilst at face value this appears to be promising, I am not prepared to believe for one second that this is over.

    A leopard doesn’t change its spots, nor can this out of control looney left-wing amalgamation of socialist and green trough-swilling politicians do likewise.

    We might see a lull in proceedings, but eternal vigilance will be required – Ray Grubb is happy to get into bed with DOC to the detriment of F&G licence holders, and he won’t go quietly into this good night.

    Stay alert everyone

    You have been warned

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