|Lower North Island Red Deer Foundation Inc|
LNIRDF Presidents report for AGM 11th Sept 2018
Last year we won our judicial review against the 2015 WARO review openings and the judge put DoC on notice to do things differently and to consult properly with recreational hunters. In speeches before the case, in their evidence submitted and during our day in the High Court (2nd May 2017) DoC repeatedly acknowledged that before the next WARO concession review occurred there would be a comprehensive review of the whole system.
We thought the late 2017 stakeholder meetings were the start of the comprehensive review. They were not. The review was cancelled in secret by DoC 2 months before the meetings.
Instead we were given a completely unsatisfactory “consultation” process as part of a standard concession renewal. To be given just 2 weeks from provision of the information is far from acceptable and did not meet DoC’s own consultation guidelines. The majority of hunters (who do not belong to clubs) were left in the dark.
However the response of hunters and clubs despite the appalling consultation exercise has been great. Well done to all those who made the time to put one in, it all helps. We now await the draft WARO concessions.
Our aims include management on an evidence of need basis, only one operator per area, quotas and a hind dominated harvest not the current open slather slaughter of stags.
Gary Harwood, Greg Duley and I took our concerns and proposals to minister Eugenie Sage on the 26th of July. Her inflammatory speech to the NZDA conference a few weeks prior did not fill us with hope however the minister was less belligerent than we expected. A follow-up letter has gone to her. It is very clear the GAC have their work cut out for them as do hunters. We can expect more battles in the future and the deer monitoring for the Ruahines has DoC concerned right through to ministerial level.
Battle for the Birds saw a substantial 1080 operation in the Northern Ruahines in spring 2017. The consultation for that operation was virtually non-existent and did not meet the 2009 guideline. We had hoped for the opportunity to argue for mitigation (repellent) but all decisions had been made before we had any opportunity. I contested the failure with the relevant area health boards (who have to sign off) and caused some grief for DoC and about the best we could achieve was email notification to all Ruahine hunting permit holders (around 2500). The first time DoC have used the enormous hunter database available to them.
The Ruahine Deer plan is progressing and now at the meaty issue of deer control. It seems the WARO guys also don’t like the open slather system we currently have so maybe there is hope in the north island. Useful discussions were held with the main operator (Garry Moar) at the last deer plan meeting on the 3rd of September. Both rec and commercial have an interest in leading control efforts to avoid other options open to the department. We have the potential for a rational predictable scheme into the future that all parties might win from.
The proposed Conservation Management Strategy (CMS) has not come out of the Conservation Authority approval process yet though it seems likely that nothing of great note will be changed from the proposal presented to them.
Where to from here ?
We await the WARO review outcome, DoC have received a lot more hunter feedback than they probably wanted and thanks to the efforts of some of the guys they have also received hunter friendly feedback from landowners and Iwi. The CMS also received a lot of hunter feedback. This feedback will make it difficult for extremist anti deer views to be put into policies without them being highly contestable.
However storm clouds are gathering given the ministers confrontational speech to the NZDA conference, the vehemence of her hatred for the GAC, the mass of 1080 soon to rain from the skies and the underway aerial culling of tahr (5000 plus shot as of mid July) along with the un-consulted relegation of hunters from being the priority control tool for tahr to last place after DoC and Heli-hunting.
The writing is on the wall and big battles are coming along with change. All hunters need to unite and create a truly effective large well-resourced lobby group. The greatest ally the extremists have is the “I’m alright jack” apathetic attitude of the average hunter. That needs to change if our children are to have the opportunities we have had.
Posted: Wed 26 Sep 2018