“The Department of Conservation’s new Tahr cull plan will undermine rural communities and tourism businesses,” says ACT’s Firearms and Outdoors Spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“What’s even worse is that the Conservation Minister is undermining the livelihoods of New Zealanders without even bothering to consult with them.

ACT supports the Tahr Foundation which has filed in the High Court for an urgent injunction to stop the Department of Conservation from culling tens of thousands of Himalayan Bull Tahr from our National Parks, starting tomorrow.

“With only two days’ notice, and no consultation, the Department of Conservation intends to triple the hours of helicopter culling.

“Tahr are recorded worldwide as a ‘near threatened’ species with New Zealand having the largest number of the valued species in the world. A Himalayan Bull Tahr is worth up to $14,000 as a trophy animal.

“Organisations like the Tahr Foundation and the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association have in the past successfully worked in consultation with DOC on plans to control females and juvenile Tahr. These organisations have effectively kept an adequate population of the game animals to support rural communities and businesses that benefit from international hunting.

“But this new cull targets male bulls as well, meaning entire herds will be exterminated.

“Conservation Minister Eugene Sage has shown no leadership in working with communities that will be affected by her decision.

“West Coast communities rely on the $100 million a year generated by the guided hunting industry. By eliminating this game animal, Eugenie Sage is also eliminating the tourism potential that so many people rely upon.

“International game animal hunters come to New Zealand for two to three weeks and hunt for three or four days. Guides, hotels and retail businesses rely on this industry.

“The hunts booked for this year have been transferred to next year in the hope Covid-19 allows international travel in 2021. Tourists are not cancelling and seeking refunds, but are deferring. But if the game isn’t here to hunt, tourists won’t come. Not only is this an ill thought out plan that will destroy a special species, but it could very well be the nail in the coffin for many small businesses.”