by Rupert Pye
A New Zealand-wide outdoor recreation organisation says the outdoors voting public has the potential to have a big impact on election day if they apply judicious examination of polices and integrity of parties.
Chairman of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) Andi Cockroft of Wellington said the environment and outdoor recreation issues are “several and varied” comprising degraded rivers, the controversial ecosystem poison 1080, foreign land sales, loss of access, anti-wild animal policies, exploitive economic polices, population policy and several others.
“There’s a big groundswell of concern. The potential impact is great as “outdoors minded Kiwis” number hundreds of thousands,” he said.
Estimates suggest the outdoors vote comprises over 700,000 – possibly grater – eligible-to-vote New Zealanders. In 2012 a Horizon Poll survey revealed fishing has five times more participants than rugby, comprising both men and women and ranging from youngsters to pensioners.
Andi Cockroft said depth of concern naturally varies between individuals, but hypothetically a conservative estimate of half (350,000) voting with outdoors issues uppermost would have a tremendous influence. Political pundits say just a 2 percent swing can determine an election.
CORANZ believed political parties had suddenly become more aware of the election impact of outdoors.
But voters had to be aware of a lack of sincerity and integrity in promises.
National when elected in 2008, promised recreational fishing zones around the coast. But in their nine years in office to 2017, the National-led government set up no “recreational fishing only” areas. The National-led three term government reduced bag limits such as Auckland’s snapper fishery and imposed some draconian rules on recreational fishers in the Marlborough Sounds and set netting along the South Island east coast.
Many outdoors voters were dismayed at the three parties of the present government – Labour, Greens and NZ First fared little better.
Labour promised to review the corrupted fishing industry quota management system (QMS) structure but Fsheries Minster Stuart Nash reneged on that.
NZ First promised to end aerial 1080 drops but had been silent on the issue for the last three years. All three parties – Labour, Greens and NZ First pledged to deal to deteriorating rivers but virtually nothing tangible had been done.
The same three parties promised to stop farmland being bought by foreigners. Again a broken promise.
CORANZ produced a 2020 election charter and analysed responses from political parties. Seventeen topics covered sea fishing, rivers, access, 1080 poison and “big picture” environmental issues such as issues as the Resource Management Act, population limits and replacing the GDP measurement of growth with a Genuine Progress Indicator. National/Labour Total Failure
Andi Cockroft is incensed at the failure of the two major parties – Labour and National – to respond despite given a reminder.
“It shows Labour and National in a poor light while minor parties in particular scored well,” he told me.
In contrast, the response from most minor parties had been good.
The Outdoor Party scored 100%, followed by Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party also on 100%, New Conservative at 89% and New Zealand First at 82%.
“But NZ First’s broken promises from election 2017 raised questions about their sincerity.”
Surprisingly ACT scored only 46% and the Green Party just 39%. TOP scored mid-range 50%.
A CORANZ panel comprising “politically uncommitted” members assessed the responses said Andi Cockroft..
Interestingly the CORANZ panel’s assessment of the Green Party’s response being well down at 39% said it probably reflected its shift in policy emphasis from environmental issues to a more centrist social philosophy plus ideology infiltrating its ranks said Andi Cockroft.
© Extermination policies on wild animals have angered the hunting public