The ‘policies’ National is releasing are nothing more than bullet points but we know from a number of slips that these vague one-pagers only scrape the surface. When they’re talking to friendly audiences without the media around, National’s MPs tend to be more forthcoming and rightwing when discussing policy. Clues can also be found in the coded language of their ‘policies’. The trick is that often only specialists can see the implications of what National is suggesting. So, we’re talking to a number of specialists in relevant areas to help us read between the lines. Today – Outdoor Recreation:
â€¢ Change the focus of Conservation Boards and rename them Conservation & Recreation Boards (or similar). Membership of these boards will reflect the diversity of recreation pursuits. â€¢ Ensure that public access is achieved through negotiated agreements between landowners and local Conservation & Recreation Boards. â€¢ Create new affordable campsites for New Zealand families where there is demand.
= open up National parks to more invasive and damaging activities and opening marine reserves to fishing. That’s bad for our native animals and plants, the sustainability of our fisheries, and traditional users of National parks like trampers.
â€¢ Recognise the status of hunters as important stakeholders in the outdoor environment. â€¢ Establish recreation areas managed by hunters on conservation land using a framework that protects conservation values. â€¢ Include hunters in the decision-making process for the management of game animals.
= as hunters already have input these changes mean putting hunters ahead of conservation and other users of DoC land.
â€¢ Give Fish & Game the option to charge a differential licence fee for foreign anglers. â€¢ Develop management plans with stakeholders in fragile and iconic trout fisheries. â€¢ Oppose the introduction of recreational sea fishing licences. â€¢ Encourage local management of local fisheries.
= put anglers’ interests ahead of other members of the community and conservation.
Context: These changes seem designed to sacrifice conservation for recreation. The big beneficiaries: hunting and fishing tourist operators. Also, the Outdoor Recreation Party left its coalition with UnitedFuture last year, National may see money and votes in securing the support of the people between ORP.