NZDA Newsletter Mar 2020By New Zealand Deerstalkers Association
- 1st Apr, 2020 Apr 1, 2020, 4:08 PM
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The world-wide Covid 19 pandemic is bringing death and misery to millions across the globe and rocking the international economy.
The government’s response to protect New Zealanders by declaring a Level Four emergency and four week lockdown is also affecting hunters at the peak of the hunting season, forcing them to abandon their roar plans.
As bitter a pill it is for hunters to swallow, the bigger picture is what is important. It is everyone’s job to stop this deadly disease in its tracks, save lives and protect our families and friends.
With grim warnings from health experts that 80 thousand New Zealanders will die if we fail to obey the lockdown and allow Covid 19 to rage unhindered, the choice is pretty clear.
“As bitter a pill it is for hunters to swallow, the bigger picture is what is important. It is everyone’s job to stop this deadly disease in its tracks, save lives and protect our families and friends.”
The New Zealand Deerstalkers Association and the Game Animal Council are uniting to urge all hunters to do the right thing and stay at home while New Zealand is at Level Four.
NZDA President Trevor Chappell says while he is incredibly disappointed, staying home is the right thing to do.
“It is gutting as a hunter to be stuck at home during the roar, but as hunters we also have our part to play to beat Covid 19,” Mr Chappell says.
“The better we all comply with the restrictions the sooner we will get this virus under control and we can go hunting again,” he says.
“It’s also really important we help each other out during this difficult time. So much about hunting is doing it with your family and your mates, so make sure you keep in touch with each other and supporting each other.”
“Use the time to make sure your gear is in tip top condition and talk to your mates about planning that next epic trip you will do together.”
HUNTING PERMITS AND ROAR BALLOTS CANCELLED
DoC has responded to the Covid 19 Emergency by closing all its huts and facilities and cancelling all hunting permits. It has also cancelled all 2020 roar ballots for hunting blocks until further notice.
Tahr rut ballots are valid from May and DoC says these will be assessed closer to that date. It warns they will be cancelled if restrictions remain in place.
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The NZDA understands the reasons why these decision are being taken in light of the current crisis but is asking DoC to include our organisation in any future discussions and decision-making by DOC so we can properly represent our members’ interests.
“DoC has responded to the Covid 19 Emergency by closing all its huts and facilities and cancelling all hunting permits. It has also cancelled all 2020 roar ballots for hunting blocks until further notice.”
One suggestion the NZDA has made to DoC is that roar ballot holders should be given the opportunity to be moved to the back-end of this year’s block periods, so that as many holders as possible can use their ballots this year.
That of course depends on whether the present Level Four restrictions remain in force after the initial four weeks. The other option is for ballot holders to automatically be given the same ballot period next year, without needing to re-apply.
The NZDA is also asking DoC to consult with it and the Game Animal Council to provide the information, insight and advice necessary to make any decision affecting hunters.
OTAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL’S FIREARMS SYMPOSIUM
The NZDA continues to champion firearm ownership, delivering a lecture on the positive aspects of owning firearms to a recent Otago Medical School 2020 Summer School symposium.
Entitled “Firearms In New Zealand - where to from here?” the symposium was attended by individuals from both sides of the firearms law debate.
Speakers included the Police Association, anti-gun campaigner Philip Alpers, the Islamic Association and health researchers and academics.
The NZDA lecture explained the legitimate reasons for owning and using firearms, this country’s long history of hunting, the success of our shooters in competitive arenas like the Olympic and Commonwealth Games and the health benefits from hunting and harvesting game animals and being in the outdoors.
It also explained why New Zealand’s firearm ownership is comparatively high and that firearms and hunting play an important economic role by providing jobs, protecting bush and pasture and earning significant overseas income.
The NZDA lecture was well received, with the Police Association supporting our organisations’ recommendation that there is a need for proper forensic research to identify how illegal firearms are entering New Zealand, rather than automatically blaming firearm licence holders for them falling into the hands of criminals.
The NZDA is keeping up the fight for its members’ interests and the future of our valued game animals as the government formulates the new national biodiversity strategy which will guide the country for the next half a century. DoC is continuing to draft the new national strategy, which the NZDA made a detailed submission on last year.
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We have yet to see DoC’s initial draft of what the strategy will look like, but in the meantime a parallel biodiversity process is being run by the Ministry for the Environment.
The Ministry is developing the requirements for how local government organisations like regional and district councils must implement the national biodiversity strategy under the Resource Management Act. These requirements are known as a National Policy Statement, or NPS.
The NZDA has just lodged a submission on this NPS project with the Ministry for the Environment. In it, we argue that any new strategy should not result in any reduction in existing biodiversity and species’ range or numbers.
The submission expresses concern that the MfE document is too narrowly focussed and concentrates solely on indigenous biodiversity. This appears to conflict with the national biodiversity strategy which incorporates all biodiversity.
“The NZDA has just lodged a submission on this NPS project with the Ministry for the Environment. In it, we argue that any new strategy should not result in any reduction in existing biodiversity and species’ range or numbers.”
Other points of concern expressed in the submission include the failure to recognise, mention or accommodate Valued Introduced Species, such as game animals.
The NZDA submission says it is also worrying that the MfE plans fail to accommodate or include the statutory organisations Parliament has tasked with overseeing game birds and animals, the Game Animal Council and Fish and Game.
The NZDA wants this omission corrected immediately, as well as MfE properly recognising the NZDA’s role as a significant stakeholder in any discussion on biodiversity.
The NZDA submission is also asking that any NPS acknowledges introduced species have value - economic, social, cultural and recreational.
We will keep you posted on the developments in this area as they will play a crucial role in hunters’ ability to continue enjoying our valued game animals now and for future generations.
Visit www.deerstalkers.org.nz for further details.