NZDA Newsletter Oct 2019By New Zealand Deerstalkers Association
- 8th Sep, 2019 Sep 8, 2019, 12:00 AM
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New Firearm Laws
The New Zealand Deerstalkers Association will be taking a pro-active role in the looming debate on proposed firearm law changes to ensure any future legislation is fair, reasonable and meets the needs of both firearm owners and the general public.
This is the second stage of changing firearm laws following the Christchurch mosque massacres. While details of the proposed law changes won’t be known until late August, the government says they will include a national register for all firearms and tighter restrictions on who can hold a firearm licence.
NZ Deerstalkers’ Association firearms spokesperson Bill O’Leary says his organisation will be actively involved in the debate shaping the new laws, including making submissions to the Parliamentary Select Committee considering the issue.
“The Deerstalkers Association is a responsible organisation representing around eight thousand hunters throughout the country,” Mr O’Leary says.
“Any changes to existing laws must be reasonable, practical and not punish these law abiding New Zealanders.” The NZDA does not support firearm registration and Bill O’Leary says the organisation will closely examine proposals on how such a scheme will work.
“What we are worried about is that the overseas experience of registration systems shows they are hugely expensive and don’t work. Because of that, we suggest the money would be better spent on proper and timely enforcement of existing laws.” Bill O’Leary also wants more detail about other proposed changes, including increasing the cost of firearm licences.
“This is too big and important an issue to be de-railed by a fixation on some outdated, hard line user pays economic theory,” Mr O’Leary says.
“What we are worried about is that the overseas experience of registration systems shows they are hugely expensive and don’t work. Because of that, we suggest the money would be better spent on proper and timely enforcement of existing laws.”
“Firearm owners are happy to pay a reasonable fee as they do at present, but if these law changes are being made for public safety, health and security reasons, then most of that cost properly lies with the government.”
The NZDA says any law changes must focus on law breakers and carry appropriate penalties which reflect the seriousness of such offending.
The organisation wants a significant enforcement effort put into policing firearm laws and rooting out criminals rather than focussing on what it describes as the easy target of responsible firearm owners who are obeying the law.
DEER REPELLENT FOR 1080
The country’s national animal welfare watchdog is recommending that repellent be included in 1080 poison to prevent deer being inadvertently killed in pest poisoning campaigns.
The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee considered the issue at its latest meeting in May and agreed to develop a best practice recommendation in its management guidelines that require deer repellent be included in 1080.
In October 2017, a mass 1080 drop by OSPRI killed large numbers of deer on Molesworth Station, an area popular with Deerstalkers Association members and other recreational hunters.
The committee’s decision follows extensive work by the Deerstalkers Association to get it to consider the issue. The NZDA says while the move is cautious, it is a step in the right direction toward ensuring non-target species like deer aren’t killed in poisoning operations.
Meanwhile, the NZDA’s Marlborough branch is asking OSPRI to work closely with it to prevent a repeat of the large scale Molesworth deer poisoning. The Branch is also offering its expertise and labour to help with deer repellent research or trials. They point out that by working with the NZDA, OSPRI will achieve win-win solutions so that hunters can have confidence in the organisation.
VALUING ALL GAME ANIMALS
Opening the NZDA’s annual national conference in Wellington this month, the National President Trevor Chappell called on the government to require officials to stop referring to deer and other game animals as “pests”. In his address to delegates, Trevor said that the continued referring to game animals as pests is a hangover from a past era.
He pointed out that this view is outdated and the law covering game animals now properly describes them as wild animals, not pests.
“National President Trevor Chappell called on the government to require officials to stop referring to deer and other game animals as ‘pests’...”
Mr Chappell is asking the government to make sure that in future public servants and others in government agencies refer to deer and other game animals as valued introduced species.
He says this properly reflects how hunters and the wider public properly view these animals.
HUNTERS ARE CONSERVATIONISTS
The NZDA President also used his speech to offer the organisation’s help in preserving New Zealand’s natural heritage.
Trevor Chappell said NZDA members share a passion for conservation and are ready to do their bit. He pointed out that NZDA members are already playing a constructive role in trapping pests, protecting access, and maintaining huts and tracks throughout the country.
Mr Chappell said that as stakeholders with a proud history and well-documented conservation record, NZDA members are only too happy to give back. He told delegates that hunters have earned their place at the table and are ready to work co-operatively to achieve common goals.
Trevor said the NZDA wants a new era where the goodwill of significant numbers of experienced outdoors people is used positively, and their concerns are taken seriously.
He pointed out that with over eight thousand members, the Deerstalkers Association makes a powerful ally and deserves better than to be taken for granted, ignored, or to have its interests ridden rough-shod over.
Visit www.deerstalkers.org.nz for further details.
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