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New Zealand Conservation Authority has released a concerning agenda item entitled "Ramping Up Wild Animal Management", schedules non-public strategy discussion

7 December 2021

We have alarming news,

All hunters need to know what's happening behind closed doors this week at our ultimate recreation and conservation authority.

New Zealand Conservation Authority has released a concerning agenda item called ‘Ramping Up Wild Animal Management’, with no mention of Game Animal Council input, our statutory function on big game animal issues.

As of Friday, the 3rd, DOC has gone live with an animal management report. This meeting is happening behind closed doors, outside the view of public, and information is not being made available to the public. Call this transparent? Call this open and honest?

The context provided alongside the agenda item is alarming to NZDA and should be to all recreational hunters. It is full of exaggerations, false information, and is being fed to the highest decision makers within New Zealand conservation. What will the actual report say?

Who Are New Zealand Conservation Authority?

Why, don't you know - they are the independent statutory body that advises the Minister of Conservation and the Director-General of Conservation on conservation priorities at a national level.

Yes, they are at the very top of the decision-making tree. They are above DOC. They set DOC's direction.

The NZCA is closely involved in conservation planning and policy development affecting the management of public conservation areas administered by the Department of Conservation.

The 'Context' Provided in the Report:

Here's what the Agenda item says:

Deermageddon 600 x 1200 px

Read the Agenda here:

Agenda Item: 182.12, Page 107

https://ftp.doc.govt.nz/public/folder/mlawv0pcMkWvExCkUCOkvg/nzca/agendas/2021/

https://www.doc.govt.nz/about-us/statutory-and-advisory-bodies/nz-conservation-authority/meetings/

Dissecting Their Claims:

How Serious Is This?

‘Ramping Up’ suggests extreme action.

False facts and warped context are a scaremongering tactic.

We do not have Lyme disease or Foot and Mouth disease in New Zealand and as hunters we all know our alpine tops are not striped of plants. 

Since when did hunters stop valuing our big game animals and herds? Never, and we've been calling for more engagement in management and access to hunt our big game animals.

In fact, Foot and Mouth disease are issues that MPI manages at our border, which means that our Wild Game Animals would be the last to be affected if we were to have a breakout in New Zealand.

The report to be tabled to the Conservation Authority appears to be prepared by the DOC director of Biodiversity Threats. They seem to be really qualified - yet their education has clearly failed them or they've been misled. The highlighting of diseases that we do not have in New Zealand might be put down to their American education, where these diseases are present.

The statement "Forest and fragile alpine tops are stripped of palatable native plants and their potential to regenerate" is an exaggeration. Where is the evidence? Where exactly are the "stripped" parts of our beloved alpine tops? Where are our native plants unable to regenerate? Where's the science and where's the data? This is a national plan, remember, so we can only assume our tops are without palatable native plants. Is that actually true? Well, no, it's not true.

The big question is, if the context of this item is so misleading, how wrong and misleading will the rest of the report's contents be?

NZDA believes these statements to be extremely concerning. Remember, this is the information being fed to decision makers at the highest level.

It's worth noting that this new management plan or strategy sits alongside almighty topics such as Global Warming and DOC's Covid strategy as part of the Director General's special topics. It is a clear indication of the priority, time and effort DOC is putting in behind the scenes.

It's all appearing to be happening behind closed doors too.

Fact Checking

Foot and Mouth Disease:

Is not currently in New Zealand. MPI, another Government Department, states that although Foot and Mouth poses a threat, it would arrive from imported products. Our back country game animals would be the last to be affected. Read more from MPI here.

Where's the serious threat to people and livestock? False alarm and misleading.

Bovine tuberculosis (TB):

Ospri explains that possums, as well as stoats, ferrets and pigs, can contract TB through scavenging an infected carcass. Wild deer are not mentioned as catalysts of spread. It's widely known deer are not the vector for TB.

Possums are the main wildlife carriers of bovine TB in New Zealand, and contact with infected possums is the main cause of herd infection. Wild deer and pigs can also get TB from possums, but they are ‘dead-end’ hosts — meaning they can’t spread the disease themselves. Read more from Ospri here.

Our farmers and Ospri have been working to eradicate TB and the plan is it will be gone from New Zealand within the next 5 to 10 years. 

Lyme Disease:

The Ministry of Health, another Government Department, explains that there aren't any cases of people catching a disease from a tick bite in New Zealand. The main diseases of concern in some other countries are not currently present in New Zealand! Read more here.

Again, false. Our deer are no serious threat to carrying Lyme Disease.

NZDA’s Questions around this and the alarming claims made in the agenda item.

Why is there no public conversation? Why is the session behind closed doors and 'in committee'?

Why is the session framed as a 'budget sensitive' item when the description states it's actually about testing a strategy?

What does the full report to be tabled include? Is it creditable and factual or will it mislead the Conservation Authority? 

Has DOC not learnt from the Tahr Cull and High Court Court Case?

Did the Game Animal Council review the paper? 

How did DOC's own scientists sign off on this?

How can you back the credibility of these statements?

How can we trust DOC in relation to speaking the truth about our game animals, their risks and "threats" to people and our ecosystems?

Why is their no mention that wild animals hold value (cultural, food and economic) to a large segment of New Zealanders?

What You Need To Know

Raise awareness before it's too late

You need to know this is happening. You need to tell your fellow hunters. We need to strengthen our voice and we need to call for transparency, consultation and facts.

Tell you friends to join NZDA, let's strengthen our voice. Click on the JOIN NOW button above. 

You can attend this meeting, it's your right as a New Zealander

Being held on the 9th of December, scheduled for after lunch, as stated on the agenda.

Location: Area Events, 1 O’Reily Avenue, Wellington, starting at 9.30am

Read the Agenda here:

Agenda Item: 182.12, Page 107

https://ftp.doc.govt.nz/public/folder/mlawv0pcMkWvExCkUCOkvg/nzca/agendas/2021/

https://www.doc.govt.nz/about-us/statutory-and-advisory-bodies/nz-conservation-authority/meetings/

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