Fish and Game NZ Head Down Privatisation “Dead End” Street

by John McNab

National Council of Fish and Game has decided to open up duck and game bird shooting and trout and salmon fishing to privatisation says NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers (NZFFA) secretary Rex Gibson in an editorial in the federation’s latest newsletter.
The National Council of Fish and Game at their August 2020 meeting voted to advise the Minister of Conservation to approve changes to the Wildlife Act to legalise private
Pheasant Preserves against the advice of their Chief Executive (CE).  The decision was a split vote with chairman Paul Shortis using his casting vote to set the public’s fishing and shooting down a privatisation path.
Draft unconfirmed minutes supplied to NZFFA “CE stated that if the NZC agree to let a discrete group set rules they want on a particular game bird we are giving away Fish and Game’s control and that precedent has the chance to flow through to other areas”.
Fish and Game NZ’s CE Martin Taylor further stated that “it is the thin end of the wedge if you allow a small group of people to continue this and allow people to charge for access to a game bird”.In case licence holders think this is just a pheasant issue they should note the words of former chairman Lindsay Lyons (Eastern) who suggested “this is one of the most significant decisions this council will ever make”
He noted that this has the potential to impact all fishing and hunting resources where there is a requirement to cross private land. That private land will potentially include all of the hydro canals which are now owned by the power generation companies. 
CEO Ignored
“Clearly they do not rate the advice of their Chief Executive,” said NZFFA’s secretary Rex Gibson who is also an ecologist..
The Fish and Game governance manual states “Fish and Game are opposed to the commercial use of the wild sports fish and game resource”
“We need to look at the flow on effects from this as this is a keystone moment teetering on  becoming the commercialisation of sports fish and game birds,” said Rex Gibson..
Tony Orman, former Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations chairman supported Rex Gibson’s editorial and said the two Acts around game bird shooting and trout fishing clearly banned the charging of fees for sport so everyone had equal opportunity to fish and shoot.
The reason for banning fishing and hunting fees began in the middle of the 19th century, when New Zealand was settled by Europeans. 
“They quite deliberately abandoned the UK feudal society, where fees are charged and access to the best trout or salmon fishing, costs “big” money.  Only the wealthy “upper class” can afford the fees. The pioneers wanted a fairer society in New Zealand, where all sport – and including the best fishing and shooting – could be enjoyed by all.”
The settlers enshrined in law there would be nothing of the UK situation where only the wealthy could afford the fees necessary to fish the spring creeks or the best trout or salmon rivers or to shoot pheasant or a red deer stag.”
The principle is that anyone, regardless of race, income or class could enjoy outdoor sports such as fishing and hunting.

Rogernomics Stench
“Fish and Game have a duty to the fishing and shooting public to guard the public ownership of fish and game,” he said. “Frankly Im very disappointed to the point of being very angry.”
He called on the fishing and shooting public to strongly oppose Fish and Game’s shortsighted change of policy.
“This brainless decision is the erosion of freedom of access for all licence holders,” he said. “The ones who voted for privatisation and especially the chairman Paul Shortis
who against standard chairmanship convention, used his casting vote to abandon the status quo of public ownership and make a major change in policy deserve a caning from the licence holder public. Shortis and the councillors backing privatisation have forgotten they are public servants and elected by the fishing and shooting public.””
Tony Orman said a “major change in policy” should be decided by going back to the public they represent.
“It’s undemocratic,” he added. “It has a strong stench of Rogernomics.”

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7 Responses to Fish and Game NZ Head Down Privatisation “Dead End” Street

  1. Steve Vee says:

    Very sad that an public organisation is giving in to commercialisation of exactly what they are there to protect. Credit card fishing and shooting being promoted by F&G is a complete sellout of the citizens who buy licences to support the Fish and Game model to look after our egalitarian rights to the Outdoors. It will be the beginning of the slippery slope leading to fees to go sea fishing. Very sad decision for all New zealanders.

    • Matthew olde olthof says:

      Absolutely agree, we the public, through the purchase of licences and volunteering our time pay for the protection of fish and game in this country so that future generations can enjoy the benefits that we so greatly appreciate.
      If that door opens it seems it is easier for them to say “sorry” than standing their ground for a resource that is so valuable to New Zealanders.

  2. How can they gather so many morons in the same room that vote against the very ideals & goals they are supposed to protect? Have they not looked around themselves & back in time to see how the majority of these efforts pan out which is to say badly for all concerned – especially the public. We, as the fishing & hunting public, need to see the backside of these twits.

  3. Claus Oustrup says:

    This is a very slippery slope… the representatives MUST back out of it now before it sets precedence. NZ property being so open to foreign investments will quickly erode the possibilities and freedom that’s now in place. Be extremely careful and guard this freedom and national right with the highest caution. Words have well expressed how representatives must be reminded of their mandate and responsibility to the public that has left them with this responsibility…

  4. Lloyd French says:

    This article is total BS. Pheasant Hunting preserves are not commercialisation of the public resource. Pheasant preserves rear and release 2 or 3 times the number of birds that they harvest through shooting. All of these birds then seed the neighbouring populations. Many preserves even capture birds at the end of the season and release these into the wild with the assistance of local F&G. Predator control undertaken by the preserves has a direct tangible benefit on the wider habitat and environment.

    Mr Lyons is a total hypocrite given he is a formal professional fishing guide, and Tony Orman is along side him in terms of hypocrisy. If one group has genuinely corrupted the free access for all model it is fishing guides.
    Lyons is merely bitter at being sacked as chairman due to his own incompetence and lack of democratic process. Anyone with a dot of integrity would resign from council. With luck he would take the political troll posing as a CEO with him.

  5. EWEN PILCHER says:


  6. Lyn lloyd says:

    Call on all fisher people and hunting – game bird or otherwise to call for a vote of no confidence and get rid of these A Holes who are enacting this. These people were voted there to look after the interests of the New Zealand public and it does make you wonder if palms have been greased and if they have vested interests in the commercialisation of our resources. As someone has already pointed out- settlers and immigrants coming to this country were getting away from the European Fuedal system where only the wealthy could get to fish the best places. It’s still that way there. Publish the result of this vote so that we can all see who voted to sell us all down the river. These people need to be removed – immediately before they get the chance to ruin everything for all of us. I can just imagine if this becomes the norm- our local Iwi would pounce on that one with great glee and I certainly could forget fishing the Tongariro, lake Taupo or Otomangakau as I wouldn’t be able to afford it. Greed, money and privalige seem to be the new desire. Wake up people and move on these buggers and stop them selling us all out.

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