Labour Government and Greens Attack National’s Hunting Fishing Advocacy

Special Report

The Minister of Conservation has attacked National’s proposal – if in government – for a Minister of Hunting and Fishing to advocate for wild game and sports fish management. Conservation Minister Willow-Jean Prime referring to them as “introduced” said high densities of wild animals such as deer caused significant damage.

“Which is why we wish to control them and some regard them as pests,” she said.

National’s shadow Hunting and Fishing Minister Todd McClay said the Game Animal Act defined all deer, tahr, chamois and wild pigs as game animals, but the Biosecurity Act and many regional pest management plans treated them as pests.

“National would strip all references to them, trout and salmon, being pests. They were a resource to be managed,” he said.

Also wading in is the the Green Party. Green conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage said there was no shortage of deer to hunt and recreational hunting pressure had been unable to keep the numbers down.

DOC monitoring had shown numbers rose 21% in the South Island and 34% in the North Island during the past decade.

“We need to control deer in national parks and across public conservation land to protect biodiversity, not enable deer to increase further and compromise forest health,’’ she said.

There was little point in controlling possums, rats and stoats to protect native birds while allowing the forest under-storey to be eaten out by deer, reducing forests’ ability to regenerate.

Swift Reaction

But reaction has been swift to the reactionary comments by Labour’s Conservation Minister and the Green party.

Laurie Colins spokesman for the Sporting Hunters’ Outdoor Trust said it was heartening to see a political party such as National giving a refreshing sensible approach to the status of wild animals such as deer.

The Minister of Conservation along with coalition partner Greens, seem to be suffering from an “anti-introduced phobia” in condemning National’s proposal for a Minister of Hunting and Fishing at the Cabinet table if National is elected government he said. 

“Some couple of hundred thousand Kiwis who go hunting, trout and salmon fishing, should take note come election time. Both Labour and the Greens need reminding that NZ’s farming industries, the backbone of the economy, are founded on introduced animals, pasture and crops.”


Laurie Collins –  “Manage numbers within habitats carrying capacity

He said for far too long, wild animals have been wrongly attacked by hatred name calling such as  “vermin” and “pests” and using futile extermination attempts such as cruel, ecosystem poisons.

Laurie Collins pointed out New Zealand’s vegetation is well adapted to browsing having had several species of moa and other vegetarian birds, for 50-60 million years. Eminent ecologist Dr Graeme Caughley estimated the moa population numbered a few million, far surpassing the 250,000 wild deer Landcare Research estimated in 2001. 

“National’s spokesman Todd McClay rightly says, wild animals are a resource to be managed,” added Laurie Collins.

Even if deer numbers had increased since the 2001 survey, as Eugenie Sage claimed, it was only a fraction of probable moa numbers.

Management involves harvesting animals in numbers to keep populations within the carrying capacity of the habitat. 

“Instead Labour and Greens believe in a hatred of introduced species rather than reality and commonsense by way of management,” he added.

Archaic View

Council of Outdoor Recreation Association’s spokesman Tony Orman said Conservation Minister Willow-Jean Prime’s opposition revealed an “archaic view” of the evolution of New Zealand’s vegetation. New Zealand’s alpine and forest vegetation was extensively browsed by various moa and other vegetarian birds. At a 1986 seminar on “Moas and Mammals”, deer browse was said by several scientists to be “not dissimilar” to moa browsing.

“One is left wondering how the Conservation Minister and Green “eco-fundamentalists” would view moas and their browsing,” he said. “Would they attack moa with 1080 poison?’

The Minister does not seem to comprehend game management is about managing populations. Importantly a culture of regarding wild animals such as deer positively instead of negatively as “pests” is needed.

In 2001 Landcare Research produced research titled “Introduced Wildlife; A Survey of General Public Views” The survey revealed 81% of the public favoured deer being managed as a resource and not “controlled’ as a pest.

“So Todd McClay and National seem to be in step with public opinion while in contrast, the Labour government and its partner Greens are sadly out of step.”

Outdoor recreation is an integral part of New Zealand’s national psyche and hunting and fishing are important as outdoor recreation he added. 



Todd McClay – Wrong to call, deer, chamois and wild animals

 and fish such as trout and salmon,as pests. They’re resources to be managed 

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7 Responses to Labour Government and Greens Attack National’s Hunting Fishing Advocacy

  1. "Cervus" says:

    I don’t care which political party comes up with a good idea, if it’s good, I say full credit. I’m weighing up my options for election day but Todd McClay and National are the first party to see the need for a voice for the fishing and hunting public.
    There are past policies that do neither National or Labour credit but if this represents a new enlightened approach by National, then it is a plus.

  2. Charles Baycroft says:

    This is just my opinion so I don’t mind if others disagree.

    It’s quite clear that Stuff has little or no respect or concern for the hundreds of thousands of tax paying Kiwis who hunt and fish.

    How would politicians that do not hunt or fish and are prejudiced against those who do know anything about the numbers of fish and game species?

    These people who want to poison, torture and eradicate all fish and game species instead of respoinsibly managing them are cruel and evil.

    If there are too many deer in New Zealand, why do I not see them like I frequently do when travelling in overseas countries where living creatures are respected and valued?

    Labour and the Greens are strongly influenced by the birdwatching minority of people whose vision of NZ is dense and impenetrable bush with some birds and no fish or game species.

    The Predator Free Ambition is foolish and not achievable. It is also estimated to cost over 18 Billion dollars that we cannot afford and do not need to spend. Let’s stop wasting more of our money on a project that has failed.

    labour and Green politicians promise a lot and consistently fail to achieve what they promise.
    Affordable housing? More expensive.
    Educated children? Nope. Just indoctrination with woke ideologies.
    Effective medical care? Longer waiting lists and more sick people.
    Mental health? More young people committing suicide.
    Safer communities? More and more robberies and violent crimes.
    Better living standards for workers? More skilled people leaving NZ as economic refugees.
    Equality and unity? No. Just more systemic racism, sexism and division of the people into hostile tribes.
    Environmental responsibility? Why are our freshwater ecosystems so polluted with nitrates and other toxic substances?
    Fiscal responsibility? Our national debt (money the working people owe) is unpayable and they just keep borrowing and spending more.
    Respect for human rights? No, just more government control and repression of our natural rights to life, liberty, personal property and ownership of our own bodies by authoritarian busybodies.
    Freedom of speech? No, just arrogant politicians that call themselves the “only source of truth”. You could not make such nonsense up unless you were seriously deluded.

    Those who want NZ to fail can keep on voting Labour and Green.
    Those who want the failure to stop should vote for their local National candidate and PARTY VOTE ACT.

    This election is a choice between incompetent authoritarian dictatorship and a responsible democratic government that respects all citizens equally.

  3. Joe Madsen says:

    Gosh! The Labour government’s conservation minister has thinking as back in the 1930s when the “kangaroo court” conference called “The Deer Menace” was held. The Green Party in bed with Labour, are too busy social engineering to be worried about the environment.

  4. Lew says:

    Todd McClay is saying the right things but I doubt very much the attitude towards the use of 1080 will be changed because it is a cheap and easy way to get rid of deer also the aerial culling of tahr will continue.
    I think having a minister of hunting and fishing won’t make any difference to what’s going on at the moment with our hunting and fishing.

  5. Stewart Hydes says:

    It is great to see a more responsible and realistic attitude towards this whole topic being taken .. whether it be by any political party.
    Hunting, in particular, makes the single biggest contribution to the protection of indigenous biodiversity, outside of government. With well north of 5 billion dollars worth of recreational assets invested (and that probably covers only firearms) .. contributing into the hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity, per annum .. harvesting hundreds of thousands of valued game species .. and into the millions of other critters .. and absorbing millions of hours of recreational endeavour .. Hunters are by far our greatest eco-warriors, bar none.
    Hunting and fishing are vital recreational pastimes, participated in by a great number of Kiwis .. people from all walks of life .. from one end of the country to the other.
    We’re talking an estimated one million or more Kiwis participating.
    We have a Minister for Racing .. and far, more more people participate in hunting and fishing.
    Our introduced species .. love them or hate them .. have been here for over 100 years .. and realistically, are here forever.
    And so our valued introduced species should be .. given the overall contribution they make to the social, cultural, democratic, environmental, mental, physical, spiritual and economic wellbeing of our country.
    At the same time, we all recognise the need to manage the impacts on our environment, and our indigenous biodiversity. This in the context .. we couldn’t get rid of them, even if we wanted to, or could afford to, no less (the farcical nonsense of Predator Free 2050 provides ample evidence of that).
    All in all, a ministerial portfolio to cover hunting and fishing .. is long overdue.
    Bravo National.

  6. Jim Hilton Batchelor Science Hons Biology 1971 says:

    National’s promise of a Minister of Hunting & Fishing is a step in the right direction to reposition New Zealand’s trout, salmon, wild deer, tahr, chamois, goats, pigs, etc as the valuable game fish and animals they are. This will be no easy task because we have government departments like the Department of Conservation, Landcare Research and Ministry of Primary Industries who are expert in convincing MP’s that New Zealand is overrun with “pests” which only they have the expertise to control with 1080 and similar poisons. The Science which underpins the $100 million plus annual cost of cruelly poisoning animals which could easily be harvested by recreational hunters is a joke. It’s not science at all, it’s simply spin, never letting the truth get in the way of a good story so MP after MP after MP will sign off on more money to keep the pest poisoning treadmill turning. The native = good, introduced = bad propaganda has been so successful that generations of New Zealanders believe the lie. So good luck National in stopping the funding. There will be howls of protest from Forest & Bird and the not so green Greens. There are plenty of people like me who could help National and explain the true science but in true “Yes Minister” and “Yes Prime Minister” style our well paid Heads of Departments will seduce National’s new Minister of Hunting & Fishing with stories about conspiracy theorists and tin foil hat wearers. I’ll be voting for my National Candidate and Party Vote Act. Anything else would be foolish.

  7. Paul Peychers says:

    Good comments from Charles. I am totally in agreement with the voting choice he states.
    The 2 main parties are untrustworthy so ACT will be needed to get good results for the outdoors users this coming election.

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