In the annual Fish & Game Magazine, issued free to all licence holders, political parties were polled on their policies in respect of fishing and duck hunting. Fish & Game asked two questions:
1. Whether political parties support the need for freshwater reform by making sure dissolved nitrogen, E. coli and sediment levels are reduced so that ecosystems can thrive.
2. Will political parties support rules and legislation to increase public access for recreational purposes and put in place measures and resources to defend and restore public access which may have been lost in the past.
Putting aside the fact that F&G NZ Council recently voted to continue private pheasant preserves to which access is reserved exclusively for high fee payers only, and the fact that only three parties responded in time for publication, the responses from Labour, Green and National reveal everything you need to know about how seriously they take angling and duck hunting and the level of respect they have for its participants.
Made reference to the Action Plan for Healthy Waterways which set tighter controls on nitrogen levels in freshwater, limits on N fertiliser, improved bottom lines in the National Policy Statement – Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) and controlling winter grazing activities. In addition they mentioned a number of other initiatives to improve freshwater health, albeit they neglected to mention that it is the tax payer, not the polluter who will foot the $700 million bill.
Labour stated they will improve access by investing in huts, tracks (presumably on conservation estate) and visitor infrastructure.
Mentioned their role in strengthening the NPS-FM and the $700M of our money for riparian planting, fencing and other groundwork. As well as offering support (money?) to farmers to be more water-wise the Greens oppose large-scale irrigation projects. The Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage also specified that DOC “is once again advocating for nature, including healthy rivers”. Greens promise more funding for the Walking Access Commission(WAC) as their way to improve public access (it should be noted that the vast majority of WAC’s public access tracks are very short and all in urban areas).
National start off by stating that “New Zealand has a longstanding culture of hunting and fishing that is supported by a large and passionate community. National is proud of this tradition and is committed to seeing it continue.”
So far, so good….and then they go on to describe the value hunters play in keeping animal numbers down in the conservation estate and how they contribute to hut maintenance. Err, this would be large game animals they would be talking about which are not part of F&G’s portfolio.
But wait, it gets even better.
National go on to inform us that “Recreational fishing involves more than 700,00 New Zealanders.: Doh! That would be the number of sea fishers which she got off the Legasea study a few years back. Again not part of F&G’s purview. They go on to describe what great work Legasea have done in consultation with the Napier Fishermen’s Association – that would be sea fishers Judith.
Finally, National bring up the “lack of clear thinking” by the Government over the tahr cull and how National campaigned alongside hunters (did anybody see them) to call off the cull. They continue about the tarh cull for another three paragraphs, all good, but, nothing to do with Fish & Game!
In summary we have two parties that subsidise polluters by cleaning up their mess for them and another party who doesn’t know the difference between a duck and a deer, nor a snapper and trout.