|Lower North Island Red Deer Foundation Inc|
Lower North Island Red Deer Foundation Incorporated (the Foundation)
Presidents report for 2017 AGM – G George
It has been a busy year with a Judicial review, a CMS review, challenging a 1080 operation and work on the Ruahine Deer Plan.
The Foundation came into existence on the 6th of April 2016 being formed from the member clubs of the Lower North Island Hunter Liaison Group which was formed in 2009 by DoC. As a legal entity (which the Group was not) a range of future options could then be catered for including it being the management entity for a Herd of Special Interest in addition to a hunter lobby group able to appeal to affiliated and unaffiliated clubs and hunters.
However the Foundations primary activity over the past year has been to successfully complete a Judicial Review of the 2015 WARO decisions. It was a mammoth undertaking involving significant effort and expense and the first legal challenge by a hunter group.
The challenge was lodged with the high court in early June 2016, had a false start of its “day in court” in early December 2016 and after the involvement of a further party (Wairarapa Helicopters) we finally had our day in court 2nd of May 2017, only 20 days shy of 2 years on from DoC making the decisions that aggrieved us. On 19th June the judge made public his decision and found in our favour and awarded costs to the Foundation (approx. $31K).
Whilst the judge didn’t accept all five of our challenge grounds he essentially accepted at least 3 of them including the significant ground relating to the Wild Animal Control Act. This should have far reaching consequences for future consideration of recreational hunters.
The challenge would not have been possible but for the support of a large number of people and clubs. Significant expenditure was required however I remain convinced that the consequences of failing to take the only action left to us would be to suffer continued onslaughts into hunter friendly concessions including the likely opening to WARO of the closed zones of the Ruahines.
Beyond the court challenge ?
One of the outcomes of the churn caused by hunters over the WARO review has been the formation of a Ruahine Deer Plan Group consisting of the Foundation, NZDA National, WARO, GAC and DoC. The intention is to try to put together a plan (of standing under the CMS) that governs all hunting in the Ruahines in a sustainable manner with less conflict. Its early days yet.
The currently underway CMS review has also presented opportunities and challenges. The opportunity seemed there to advocate for improvements for rec hunters and a great many submitted. However the first responses back from DoC effectively ignored those views, relegated the Deer Plan to an easily ignored consultation group and seemed destined to promote a further challenge. Several meetings have occurred with DoC and some progress may have been made. There is hope yet however as the saying goes “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”.
Also coinciding is the poorly consulted northern Ruahines BFTB’s 1080 job where all decisions had been made before we had a chance to effectively lobby for mitigation of the effects upon deer. However by lobbying the District Health Boards and Ministry of Health (whose approval is needed) we did gain some further information for hunters which may at least save some a wasted hunting trip given how many were unaware of the operation.
We need to more effectively advocate for our interests and through the Foundation we have the opportunity to cement in a regional group of broad appeal to both affiliated and the unaffiliated hunters who by far outnumber the club members. To do this we need good systems and we must show value to those people.
If we as hunters want to have a greater say in the management of our game resources then we need to form large effective advocacy groups. Proposals to be presented at the AGM will provide options for furthering the support base of the foundation and discussing what key actions we wish it to pursue.
My thanks for all their support goes to Derrick Field and Ivan Morrison for their hundreds of hours of effort. Thanks are also due to the many other individuals and club representatives who took the time to be a part of the Foundation. Many clubs gave financial support to the court challenge and particular thanks goes to NZDA Hutt Valley Br, NZDA Wellington Br, NZDA BOP Br, NZDA National Office and CDF&G whose support was above and beyond the call and of course to the hundreds of individuals who gave to the cause. Together we created history, the first court challenge by hunters and in doing so we drew a line in the sand. Well done guys
Posted: Wed 30 Aug 2017