From the Past
The late John B Henderson was a strong supporter of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations. As national president of the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association in the late 1960s and early 1970s and also in the 1980s, he was to the fore in advocacy challenging governments’ policies on a range of issues. His speech in 1960 was as follows:-
N.Z. FEDERATION 0F RIFLE, ROD & GUN SPORTSMEN News Release 1 August, 1969 From: – NEW ZEALAND DEERSTALKERS’ ASSOCIATION INC.
THE PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS – TO THE 1969 CONFERENCE CHRISTCHURCH – 7, 8, 9 AUGUST 1969.
In keeping with past practice l intend to discuss aspects of outdoor recreation in addition to those covered by the Executive’s Annual Report.
Despite the fact that l make only brief mention of some subjects, all are of vital importance to this Association, and in total they present a picture of the trends in a number of New-Zealand’s social attitudes.
THE END OF-AN ERA. Much of our way of life has been influenced by a history of pastoral farming and an economy based on that industry, but the nineteen sixties have seen what is probably the permanent swing away from this and the initiation of an industrial economy.
The world’s trade barometers are predicting at best only a fair outlook for the conventional primary products which have been the basis of our livelihood. This situation has caused sober re-appraisals to be made, a search for more lucrative crops, moves towards entirely different forms of land use and a decided emphasis on manufacturing industries of considerable magnitude and variety.
Of course, these changes affect all of us, our incomes, our jobs and our immediate living standards, but l suggest to you that the long term effects will be far more fundamental in principle, wide in extent and – unless we are vigilant — devastating in their consequence.
For, I put it to you, every industrialized country in the world has at one time gone through this phase. Each in turn has bought its own variation of the theme of the technological age – each has gained material benefits in the form of household appliances, motor cars, press button pleasure and many other luxuries – each has lost to a degree its social stability, a relatively unpolluted environment, and a scale of values in keeping with human welfare.
lt is so easy for us to be dazzled at a distance by the opulence of the “Great Society“;- to be tempted by the glib tongued salesmen; to demand change and modern innovation and quick returns; to ridicule tradition .But it is just as easy for us to be hoodwinked and not see the devastating side effects; to lose our sense of proportion with respect to intangible values including those of wilderness and wild life and to suffer along with many other countries a marked fall in the quality of life.
I suggest, therefore, that you judge my remarks to follow on the basis that New Zealanders have a great deal to lose in a technological society – that what they are told are gains will often turn out to be bitter pills in disguise, and that much of the way of life we now take for granted and for free may well be further degraded, exploited for private commercial gain and open only to the man with the wad.
THE SALE OF CROWN LAND, A Government obsessed with the desire to commercialise most aspects of our way of life has recently committed itself to a land deal which if not reversed will initiate the destruction of traditions and social attitudes of 100 years‘ standing.
Flying in the face of the present law, the Government has negotiated the sale-of 2500 acres of Crown land in Southland to American big business interests, specifically for the purpose of exploiting that land’s hunting, fishing and wildlife recreation ‘ values.
At a critical stage in New Zealand’s development when at long last it is dawning on the general public that our forests are now mere remnants; that our wetlands are disappearing, that our land and water resources are severely restricted and very often dangerously polluted; that our wilderness is NOT inexhaustible; that New Zealand is in fact a very small place – the Government grasps for its 30 pieces of silver.
At a time when the Environment Committee of the National Development Conference warns us that land resources and usage are improperly appraised – that recreational reserves are inadequate – that the private ownership of lake and seashore is a matter for national concern; that “the finer side of life should be open to all irrespective of income, occupation or location” the Government is busy alienating “picture postcard“ Crown land so that a private individual can cater for the “high class facilities ~demanded “by overseas sportsmen, especially Americans” and incidentally sell us back our fishing and shooting at his price — if we have that sort of money!
Well, let us be emphatic on this point – our forebears came to this country to rid themselves of a feudal system that arbitrarily assigned the wildlife resource to a handful of the wealthy nobility. New Zealanders generally and sportsmen in particular adopted social attitudes supported by traditions and laws, the intention of which are as clear as crystal – that wild- life is public property and shall not be owned by individuals for their private exploitation – that wealth shall not be the factor determining who shall hunt and fish. So says Section 23 of the Wildlife Act 1953 – “NO person shall sell or let for fee or reward any right to hunt or kill game on any land or on any water on or adjoining any land.“ So says recommendation C (1) 1965 Lands and Agriculture Select Committee report with respect to large game animals. So says Section 89 of the Fisheries Act 1903.
The following protest at the sale of this land was lodged with the Ombudsman –
“Dear Sir, – We would be grateful if you would examine this matter for us with particular reference to the following objections;
1. The use of this and similar areas for the purposes stated must constitute a breach of section 23 of the wild Life Act 1953.
2. It would contravene recommendation C (1) 1965 Lands and Agriculture Select Committee report.
3. That the dates chosen for advertising the intention to sell and for the closing of objections are unreasonable under the circumstances.
4. That the sale of Crown Land for such purposes creates a precedent with respect to Land and Wild Life values and conflicts with the spirit of the Law and the social attitudes of the public generally.
5. That therefore the sale of the particular block of land in question was not one for the concern of Southlander’s alone and should have been widely advertised by the Crown and public attention deliberately drawn to the principles involved.
6. That the sale was not advertised and conducted in the manner normal to Land Settlement Board operations.
7. That the purpose for which the land is being purchased involve values which have never been determined by the Crown and that the price agreed upon would therefore neglect such values to the detriment of the public interest
Yours faithfully etc.”
Sportsmen have laid these facts before the Ministers concerned – they have exhausted all possible avenues of delay and challenge through the Ombudsman — they have laid it straight on the line to the Department of Internal Affairs that the implications of this move are serious and irrevocable.
You wouldn’t guess the answer they got – “Oh, the right to fish and hunt will not be sold, just access, accommodation, food, transport, ammunition, guiding, etc.“
Surely one of the most priceless pieces of humbug ever perpetrated.
If it is going to be held that the sale of such ancillary aspects of fishing and hunting, directly linked to those sports on a 2500 acre private-preserve is legal, then the law is an ass and not worth the paper it is written on.
So we-say-to the Government — don’t tell us that the intention of the present-law in any way squares off such a convenient misconstruction. Tell us that the law is defective and badly needs amendment – but don’t imply that your actions represent the will of the people.
It is one thing-to admit that a clause is defective and that people are-now illegally exploiting sportsmen and game alike, but there is a vast gulf between such an admission of administrative and legal inadequacy and a deliberate Government action designed to honour the breach and set the precedent.
If this sale is sustained, Section 23 of the Wildlife Act will be impossible to invoke – the weirdest excuse will suffice to utterly destroy the concepts of our tradition, law and social attitudes, and we will have bought overnight, all the unjust, class generated props of a decadent society and degraded our sport to the level of a commercial gimmick.
If this sale is sustained, we can expect similar acts from Government with respect to other Crown lands and virtually all Crown leasehold. Already a number of large properties are being manipulated in this fashion and given the slightest encouragement, our recreational assets will be taken from us by a handful of foreigners possessing private wealth that our social system does not permit. But our Government is quite prepared to see these people buy up our land, manipulate its use based on a scale of values existing in New York and sell our sporting assets to a wealthy clique of status seekers that nave already ruined the hunting situations of many countries, Let us say again and unmistakably to the Government ~ hands off! – With the firm conviction that if we are ignored then the Government will thoroughly deserve the far reaching social and political repercussions that will surely eventuate.
l add three further comments on this arbitrary and anti-social action of the Government
(1) This land deal was approved at a price of $18 per acre to freehold, whereas the Wellington Acclimatisation Society was obliged to pay $23 per acre to prevent the Government draining a remnant 330 acres of wetland habitat in the Lake Wairarapa drainage scheme, in return for which they receive no land title.
(2) In mentioning Recommendation C (1) 1965 Lands and Agriculture Select Committee report which called for an amendment to the law to prevent the sale of “noxious animal shooting rights”, it must be noted that such an amendment has been conspicuous by its absence. There can be but one conclusion drawn from this deliberate inaction – the Government overruled the Parliamentary Committee and its own members on it, because it intends that the sale of shooting rights shall be encouraged.
(3) The Government has purposely refused to countenance any form of valuation of outdoor scenic, recreational and wildlife resources and has opposed and ridiculed our attempts at estimates. For example, when they decided to grab the Tongariro River, they compared the hydro-electric power potential of diverted water against the estimated poundage of trout taken there, and valued the trout at the same price as fish and chips across a shop counters Little wonder we sportsmen lost that argument by a factor of two;
Let us not delude ourselves into thinking they will change their style to do so would severely cramp the operations of departments of State and would undoubtedly show up a number of ill—conceived gimmicks for the tragic net loss they represent to society.
THE NATIONAL WATER AUTHORITY. In the formation of two statutory bodies, the National water Authority and the water Allocation Council, the Minister of Works made it clear to us that neither he nor his party would countenance any representative of outdoor interests at his policy table.
But he has given a seat to all the abusers, polluters, and commercial users of water, including those who sell it back to us and doubtless when the commercial tourist interests are successful in alienating waters for their exclusive use the Minister will give them a seat also.
You wonder why the Government refuses the sportsman an equal right – well, I’ll tell you. They don’t want anyone rocking a boat full of yes men, and what is more they could never trust us to keep confidential their scale of values or the actions they take in the name of the public and with respect to the most important natural resource.
POLLUTlON The pollution law of this country is the product of frightened little men. Frightened of publicity that would follow an attempt at facing the problem squarely. Frightened of the repercussions in the field of commercial polluters and large scale users” Frightened of the cost of the clean up so vita necessary, Frightened of the extent to which pollution exists right now. Frightened of the hard work required to rectify position Frightened to admit that their past decisions and inactivity have given rise to that pollution
And little because bigger men would have risen to the challenge rather than hide behind a water classification system that prescribes the extent to which water may be polluted rather than outlawing the pollution.
If you can’t believe this analysis, go and search the records of the courts for evidence of action and you will find that nearly all proceedings under New Zealand’s law since it was written in 1953 have been taken by sportsmen’s groups Numbers of actions fail for lack of teeth in the law and where conviction is entered the fine is often so small as to constitute a cheap licence to continue to pollute.
Small wonder New Zealanders enjoy the “benefits” of raw sewage on their beaches and in their rivers; the stench and the ruination of miles of otherwise beautiful coastline and river; the deliberately created health risks including areas where typhoid is now endemic; the now familiar notice “Taking of shellfish forbidden“; yes, even the draw off for town supply purposes of water contaminated by untreated sewage discharge from other towns just a few miles upstream.
Then there are the countless thousands of outfalls of industrial wastes, the serious weed growth problems in many areas caused by the run off of applied fertilizers and the continual use of poisons and pesticides,
At a stage when many countries have been forced to do a somersault with respect to the use of poisons; when the world repercussions are known to be serious; when the “big stick” philosophy has been shown to be fallacious; the New Zealand Government deliberately encourages the more extensive use of pesticides by granting a special subsidy on their use, I suggest that this must be the most “bitter pill“ the tax- payer has ever had to swallow.
And as for monitoring the effects of hosing all this poison on our landscape, well the Marine Department collects levies from the sportsman’s fishing revenue and uses them to research the devastating effects, on stream fauns, of moderate dustings of pesticide. So the angler not only pays for testing the inadequacies of the law with respect to pollution caused by other people, but he also pays for the research into the hazards of poisons spread by other people and which kill the fish he is paying to manage.
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE. A number of the aforementioned subjects were presumably discussed in the various sessions of the Conference.
Surely here was a forum to which the organised outdoor sportsmen could contribute, especially in view of the size of the two main groups, the Acclimatisation Society movement and the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association, their long term efforts and their policy utterances in the relative fields of discussion.
Surely in the working parties of the Forestry section concerned with the multiple use of resources, or in the Tourist or the environment Committee deliberations the fisherman, the wild- fowler and the deerstalker could be seated.
Well, they were not, and they were just about the only major sections that were omitted” So the largest single outdoor sporting groups in New Zealand were deliberately snubbed.
I suggest that when the Government leans more and more on the National Development Conference as a vote catcher at election time and tells you ever more insistently that the blue print for New Zealand’s future was set by the experts in the true democratic fashion, that you award them the traditional and equally democratic raspberry.
LEGlSLATION; Under this innocuous heading has arisen some of the Association’s greatest problems.
I have always held it to be the duty of the National Executive to ensure that the laws Parliament makes do not act unfairly or arbitrarily upon the interests of deerstalkers But we have assumed additional duties, namely, to present a case often on behalf of several sections of outdoor sportsmen and, of equal importance, to ensure that the intention of the law is clear and the wording intelligible,
Based on such an approach it will not be difficult for you to accept my assurance that we have several times been solely instrumental in effecting amendments to Bills before Parliament.
Let me say that an earlier definition of barrel length in the Arms Act was provided by your past national Secretary, thus saving the public the frustration of trying to measure a barrel from the muzzle to “a point at which the explosion takes place”.
Recently the Arms Act was further amended and re-defines firearms not by barrel length but by overall length We pointed out on your behalf that many complications would arise from the use of such a measurement, as a previous Arms Amendment ruled that parts of firearms could be classed as firearms in a number of situations. Thus, if a stock was removed or was of a folding type or the barrel removed, then they partially dismantled fire- arm would become a pistol under the provisions of the Act.
We wrote to the Department for a ruling so that we could properly inform all our firearm users how Parliament had deter- mined a firearm should be classified. The following is the reply we received — “Definition of Pistol in 1968 Arms Amendment Bill.
You will recall that at yesterday’s discussion we promised to provide an interpretation of the latter part of the new definition of pistol, i.e. ‘pistol … includes any firearm that is less than thirty inches in length‘. l understand that the cause of anxiety is that if a normal rifle is dismantled the action will be less than thirty inches and therefore be caught under the definition of pistol because the final portion of the definition of firearm (contained in the 1966 amendment) ‘includes a firearm which for the time being is dismantled‘.
When the definition of firearm is applied to the new definition of pistol it means that if a hand gun is dismantled it is still a firearm and therefore still a pistol. Also, if a rifle which is less than thirty inches in length is dismantled it is still a firearm and still a pistol. However, if a rifle, say, four feet six inches in length is dismantled it is not possible to call the action a pistol merely because it is less than thirty inches in length.
l trust that our members will be pleased with this explanation. Yours sincerely etc. “
Now, let me assure you that is not as funny as it sounds.
it is actually a logical explanation and can be understood, but it demonstrates the lengths to which we must go to obtain an interpretation of law, the ignorance of which your benevolent Ministers will not countenance nor will they allow you to use ‘ it as a defence — and I’ll wager that 99.9% of all firearm users are now and will remain ignorant of the ramifications of that legal clause.
THE TRESPASS ACT proved to be the most time consuming struggle we have ever had with legislation. It literally cost your secretary and me hundreds and hundreds of hours in addition to those spent by the sporting groups which were associated with us.
You nave copies of our special report on this subject, so I will not cover the ground twice.
Suffice to say that a very large question mark hangs over this law and its probable interpretation. This is not only grossly unfair on the public but also on the farmer who has gained little if anything from this piece of gimmick legislation
The Minister was, in his own words, “lined up“ in Party Caucus and, in our opinion, was thoroughly sick of the mess subsequently handed to the House, We are alarmed at the Ministers statement that a number of Government Members attempted, and are still so doing, to have the entry to any land in itself classed as a CRIMINAL OFFENCE.
This latter aspect clearly demonstrates the appalling lack of sense on the part of those concerned and poses the obvious question as to whether they would like the local Vicar to be charged as a criminal for walking down the path to collect for the church.
Until several very obscure provisions of the Trespass Act are tested in Court, most deerstalkers and wildfowl shooters will operate under the threat of proceedings and Police action merely because they are unable to understand what the politician has written – and the latter in turn can’t explain the consequences of what he has written either.
I remind you that we have freely offered to the Government and the farmer the combined efforts of organised sportsmen to effect a proper cure of the trespass problem. We have carried your open pledge of responsibility to the law makers and have expressed our willingness to sit down with the parties concerned and develop a system that will provide far more severe penalties than those in the present law
But the penalties will not be incurred because of obscure law, or-ignorance, or inadvertent trespass, or the crossing of thousands of miles of unfenced back country whose boundaries are mere lines on a map.
COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION OF FISH AND GAME. If any sportsman is naive enough to believe that his recreational assets are inviolate, then let him take a long, hard look at the ruthless exploitation of game animals, compare it with the tragedy of the crayfish and similar industries, and then wake up to the fact that the Government is poised ready to alienate public waters, public lands and the public resources of fish and game into the hands of commercial interests backed by foreign capital in return for the “fast buck“.
The Government and an equally inept administration that have contributed jointly to the virtual bankruptcy of New Zealand’s sea fishing industry is now telling us not to be alarmed at their proposals to permit trout farming.
The Marine Department knows virtually nothing of the life history, let alone the status of our major sea fish species; its research activity in the salt and fresh water fields is almost non-existent; _ its staffing and laboratory situations are now and have been for decades, pathetic and yet it dares to suggest it could provide “expert research and advice“ should a trout farming industry be started.
This suggests nothing short of misappropriation of public funds, as the Trout markets of the world are neither profitable nor predictable, in fact the Americans (to whom we are supposed to sell) have difficulty selling their own trout in the town in which it is grown because of competition from cheap Japanese and Danish imports.
Once capital is invested in such ventures in New Zealand, we shall witness the repudiation of all the hollow assurances now given. As the difficulties become apparent the first relaxation will come in the form of local sales to get rid of” unsaleable surpluses”. The next will entail the importation of special strains of trout from overseas (without which a trout farmer would hardly compete) and in comes the disease problems to spell doom to a priceless asset – our world renowned wild trout sports fishery.
Then will come the final crunch. when the plaintive cries of the “business men“ fall on the ears of sympathetic ministers, noble gestures will be made to save “valuable overseas investment capital“ and the sale of fishing rights will be blessed.
If you don’t believe me, then show me one other country that has made the grade without these artificial props and when you have finished scratching your heads try squaring off, as the Government is, this most dangerous and illegitimate experiment with a national public asset for a paltry $% million estimated revenue.
The openly stated reasons given by the Minister of Agriculture for not allowing rabbit farming in New Zealand are equally applicable to trout farming, and let us make sure that the Government does not get away with such a convenient inconsistency.
I have already made reference to the ways in which the commercial exploitation of game is being surreptitiously encouraged — namely, the failure to close a gap in the Noxious Animals Act and the sale of Crown land specifically for the purpose of exploiting that land’s fish and game resources.
Having weaselled this trend into operation we now see them blessing the use of great sections of New Zealand’s back country for purposes which set a most dangerous precedent.
I refer to that huge acreage of pastoral lease Crown land which exceeds the total area of National Parks and which is held by a small number of high country farmers for peppercorn payments of around $20 per I000 acres per annum.
Now I have no quarrel in principle with the careful use of this land for grazing purposes, providing conservation standards are adequate, but I suggest that these leases were never designed to cover the recreational, wildlife and scenic values of such huge acreages of public land.
In fact, as I have already demonstrated, the Government has consistently refused to have such values recognised.
Now we have the Lands Department stating openly that they are quite prepared to tailor leases to suit requirements for both farming and tourism.
So the power of big foreign capital earned under a system that our politicians do not permit is going to dispossess us of the right to use vast areas of New Zealand that include mountains of 8000 feet and more, rivers, lakes, forests and permanent snow fields.
I suggest that if we are stupid enough to let the Government manipulate our public land like this, then we shall thoroughly deserve the situation where about half a dozen foreign millionaires will control or even own outright the whole eastern faces of the Southern Alps and great hunks of Otago, Southland, Marlborough, Nelson and the central North Island. They could rent the lot in perpetuity on today’s lease rentals for less than $200,000 per annum.
And if again you don’t believe this can happen, have a look in the Pacific islands, Australia and the Mediterranean, and elsewhere and you will see where it has already happened.
Ask yourself what share does the local African, Italian, lndian and South American population enjoy of the wildlife, scenic and recreational heritage that was theirs. The answer is nil – the prices are fixed by a commercial clique based on a scale of values set in New York under which a Gold medal Hungarian stag has a price tag of $5000 on it, and if you need to satisfy your urge to kill any further you can line up for a duck shoot and kill, in a quarter of an hour or so, a hundred birds that have never flown before.
Don’t say this cannot happen here – it has happened every- where that big money got control of land, wildlife and scenic values and what is more we have it already and a Government which is encouraging it.
Nothing short of a massive and insistent demonstration of public opinion will prevent the further dispossession of what you now regard as your birth right, the remedy I suggest is to stand firmly where the Association has always stood – completely opposed to exclusive hunting, fishing and access rights to Crown land.
We must leave this Government in no doubt whatsoever that any attempt at alienating the public ownership of the fish and game resources (and l include big game here) will be met with implacable opposition.
WAPlTl. In an otherwise fairly desolate scene, the Wapiti area stands almost unique in the country today. No poison – no Government killers – no commercial shooters, And I suggest that is the way it should remain.
Our long struggle and the unflagging efforts of the Andersons, MacKenzies and the thousand and one stalwarts who have helped so much are bearing fruit.
We have demonstrated, l suggest, even to the most sceptical, that alone amongst all other groups in New Zealand, including the State, we have built a system that holds promise for long term animal control at the same time producing large quantities of first class research information from a herd of wild animals on a continuous basis” dot only that, but it costs the taxpayer nothing and in fact generates its own cash requirements from amongst the users.
In spite of Government statements to the contrary, the data is useful to research workers, in fact one such man, a Fulbright scholar, is presenting an analysis of it for a doctorate thesis “The increasing activity on the part of State employees in the area is noted, as is the proximity of their timing to the 5 year appraisal set by the Select Committee in 1965.
Let me say that l find it strange that departments who so often protest at the great lack of staff and money to do the analyses of our critically eroding country can suddenly supply men, money, equipment and time to undertake such academic studies as the political significance of Wapiti-red deer hybridism, and to pay close and detailed attention to lists of plant species that are eaten or not eaten in the Wapiti area.
What a pity that their talents and energy could not be diverted to healing all that critical eroding land at the back of Canterbury that has and is still being punished by a group which included members of Parliament and even the odd Cabinet Minister.
THE WlLDLlFE COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY What has been finally dressed up as a serious and well considered attempt at rationalising and co-ordinating wildlife interests began as (and in reality still is) a blatant attempt at closing the Acclimatisation Society movement down, stripping the sportsman of the right to manage his own affairs and denying him the right to a proper say in how his license money is spent.
In return for this he shall have the privilege of paying ‘ for the creation of a bright and shiny bureaucracy twice the size of the present one which will charge him 60% more in licence fees for the same lack of service he is at present enjoying, at a recent meeting in Napier when the Deputy Prime Minister attended to defend his actions in this matter, he failed to answer for the second time the following questions –
(l) Why did he not consult with the sportsman’s national representatives before rushing into action?
(2) Why did he attempt to have the State Services Commission exercise jurisdiction over groups completely outside the Public Service?
Why did he not consult with us on –
(3) The terms of reference,
(4)-The personnel of the Committee of Enquiry
(5) The time required for us to assemble a case
The answer is simple – he attempted to take us with one swipe in less than two weeks – and if that is hard to accept, let the sceptics read the file of the Ombudsman’s actions on our behalf.
Moves costly to us in time and money forced the Government to upgrade the three-man committee to the status of a Commission and thus was the State’s face conserved temporarily.
On the premise that if the Government wanted a bureaucratic answer they should appoint bureaucrats to the Committee, the recommendations in the report were predictable and expected.
The key statement lies on page 90 (12) – “We share the general opinion that the control of wildlife is a subject for experts and should no longer be in the hands of laymen, dedicated and knowledgeable as they may be.“
Well, let us tell the Minister and the Commission that the past record of their “experts“ are well known to us.
They enunciated the Policy of Extermination, only to be defeated in their ignorance by ‘lay‘ sportsmen.
They predicted the death of the last rabbit and now admit to a yearly harvest.
They championed the use of 1080 poison which turned out to be not only a failure on large mammals but hardly a cure for the humble rabbit.
They backed and encouraged the spewing of millions of pounds of pesticide formulations all over dew Zealand, to the virtual elimination of the natural control factors operating and now with ever increasing pest populations geared and in some y cases almost resistant to the most powerful insecticides, they find themselves with a residue problem of critical importance to dew Zealand’s exports.
The “experts“ include those who stand today in ignorance of the simplest and most basic wildlife information and trends involving ducks, pheasants, geese, trout, sea fish, crayfish, salmon and all the large wild mammals.
They also include those whose attempts at writing off wild animal populations in annual reports were always dogged by bad luck and the regular escape of the odd pregnant female which somehow produced 5000 or so fawns in the following year without the assistance of a stag.
We now refer the Minister to the terms of reference he wrote without our assistance and especially to (b)(l). We ask who are the “experts“ with respect to “wildlife policy and financial matters” – certainly not his officers!
Let there be no mistake on this one — the policies required to sustain the large and socially important sports of fishing and hunting are the prerogative of the user, not some back room boffin that has never held a rod or a gun or a rifle in his life, nor had the wits to ask the sportsman to explain his aspirations with respect to ethics and field rules and recreational values.
And, as for financial matters, I suggest we have enough chartered accountants in our ranks to bring to bear all the expertise necessary to spend wisely and profitably the money we ourselves generate, After all, the qualifications of the Minister of Finance are no more impressive than a dozen or more of our members attending this very Conference.
We challenge the Minister to show us any arm of bureaucracy that has generated its administrative system based on k ethics and social attitudes – on the contrary it bases its system on law and regulation which seldom take such, intangibles into consideration. Yet these form the very basis 5 of the fish and game sports, and without them they become no more than legalised slaughter.
I wonder if the Minister and the Commission would, with equal alacrity, “share the general opinion that the control of a nation is a subject for experts and should no longer be in the hands of laymen politicians dedicated and knowledgeable as they may be“.
That might prove to be the most interesting of election planks and, if applied to the present Government, may well be sustained by a majority of New Zealanders. 4 It is difficult to imagine the Commission adopting a more patronizing and “holler than thou“ attitude, and I suggest that few people, let alone sportsmen, will swallow this familiar twisted formula of conquest by division, take over and disinheritance.
CONCLUSION. I have not painted a particularly rosy picture and for what has been stated I have no apologies to make.
You should now have no illusions as to my assessment of what the future holds for us nor of the counter action I urge you to take.
If you do not agree with me on these fundamental issues, there is an easy and proper remedy that I should take – to do otherwise would cause me frustration in the extreme and would divide a movement the unity of which is its only real strength.
If, however, you hold similar views to those I have expressed, then I suggest you have a duty to me and your Executive to demonstrate this fact clearly and unmistakably throughout this Conference and to the Government.
For the path the Government wishes to drag you down is as far from the one you deserve as an agnostic is from a believer.
This is a time for action, for we have been promised by the Minister, deliberate moves from Government AFTER THE ELECTION, I contend this openly implies that the action contemplated would cost far too many votes if it were disclosed now.
Gentlemen, this is the time for men to stand up and be counted.
J.B. HENDERSON National President.