ACT believes we must protect our country’s unique flora and fauna by eradicating pests and predators. However, this shouldn’t occur at the expense of our valued introduced species. Fishing, hunting and gathering are important activities undertaken by many thousands of New Zealanders.
Core principles of ACT’S Hunting and Conservation Policy
- ACT believes that the stewardship of, and responsibility for, the conservation of our unique and evolving natural environment belongs to New Zealanders in partnership with the government.
- ACT recognises that input from outside of government into conservation management is crucial to the success of that partnership. ACT acknowledges that hunters are a vital part of environmental management and that hunting plays a valuable role in conserving nature.
- ACT believes adequate resourcing of government entities is essential in order for them to support local communities to protect flora, fauna and wildlife. ACT will enable these entities to fund scientific advice from experts whose research will help formulate conservation and environmental management plans.
- ACT accepts that poisoning schemes need to be reviewed to ensure they are a last resort rather than the government’s preferred approach for large areas of the country. Where it is practical to replace poisoning with hunting and trapping, this should be the preferred alternative. Where it is possible to replace poisoning with more environmentally-friendly technologies, this should be referred as those technologies become available.
Hunting is a valuable activity for many New Zealanders and, indirectly, for all New Zealand. It provides food for many people, social contact and friendship for many more, and helps control pests to maintain balance in our unique ecosystems.
Unfortunately, Government policy often fails to recognise these realities and benefits.
The Department of conservation often sees hunters as their enemy instead of a valuable ally. While it excludes them from being part of the solution, it puts its own resources into damaging eradication and poisoning programs instead.
- Ensure the Game Animal Council (GAC) is empowered and resourced to achieve its statutory objectives and functions.
- Establish Herds of Special Interest under the direct management of the GAC.
ACT recognises that the use of vertebrate toxic agents like 1080 for the control of pests in our natural environment is both a controversial and emotive topic for hunters, animal welfare groups, conservationists and the general public.
ACT also recognises the significant threat pests like rats, mice, possums and mustelids pose to our native flora and fauna and our agriculture sector.
We support funding research into 1080 alternatives through Predator Free 2050, including trapping innovations, non-toxic alternatives and deer repellent. We recognise that, until such tools are available, the use of 1080 in some remote high country areas may be unavoidable. In more populated areas, however, we would prefer that alternatives to 1080 are used where possible.
- Ring-fence contestable science funding to prioritise research and development into viable alternatives to 1080.
- Require the Department of Conservation to use all measures and resources at their disposal to minimise the by-kill of game animals and other non-target species during 1080 operations, including through the mandate use of effective deer repellents.
Where We'll Get To
ACT’s goal is a constructive and cooperative relationship between the hunting community, DoC, and the wider public.
The relationship should recognise the strengths of each party, creating win-win solutions for people and New Zealand’s natural environment.
The relationship will occur at a local level, with real democracy where people are treated with dignity and respected rather than a combative relationship orchestrated from Wellington.