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Between the lines: Nats’ outdoor rec policy

Written By: - Date published: 12:10 pm, July 23rd, 2008 - 28 comments
Categories: Environment, kremlinology, national - Tags:

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:

• 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. • Ensure that public access is achieved through negotiated agreements between landowners and local Conservation & Recreation Boards. • 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.

• Recognise the status of hunters as important stakeholders in the outdoor environment. • Establish recreation areas managed by hunters on conservation land using a framework that protects conservation values. • 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.

• Give Fish & Game the option to charge a differential licence fee for foreign anglers. • Develop management plans with stakeholders in fragile and iconic trout fisheries. • Oppose the introduction of recreational sea fishing licences. • 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.

If you can provide more specialist information on National’s ‘policies‘, such as broadband or early childhood education, flick us an email at [email protected].

28 comments on “Between the lines: Nats’ outdoor rec policy ”

  1. Phil 1

    “… we’re talking to a number of specialists in relevant areas to help us read between the lines”

    Define, please.

    P.S. Keep in mind that wearing a greenstone necklace, claiming to be a buddhist, and voting for the Greens, does not make someone an environmental ‘specialist’.

  2. higherstandard 2

    Indeed

    Who are these relevant specialists …… judging from the piece you have written it is some hack from Crosby/Textor.

  3. mike 3

    “If you can provide more specialist information on National’s ‘policies‘, such as broadband or early childhood education”

    SP – As you know Nats ECE policy will be more flexible and cover more kids but here is an interesting story from the Press on Labours “20 hrs Free” farce http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/4627295a6009.html

  4. people write to us all the time with specialist information. I’m not going to name them all just as I don’t demand to know your identities.

    As always, what matters is the arguments but you’ve gone straight for attacking the source, so I conclude you have no response on the substance.

  5. Draco TB 5

    Conservation is critical to our continued survival as such we need to learn to live within the natural limits of the environment. At only one time have I ever seen National do anything to protect the environment over business and that was when they signed in the RMA which they’re now promising to weaken for the sake of business. These bullet points seem to fit well within that promise to weaken environmental protections.

  6. higherstandard 6

    Fair enough SP

    In terms of the policy I can see nothing there that gives me any concern – apart from your scaremongering which I disagree with.

  7. Matthew Pilott 7

    Deer and pigs are pests, as are non-native game fish.

    It is in hunters’ and anglers’ interests to maintain higher stocks of these – more deer = better hunting. More fish = better fishing.

    Therefore their values are not consistent with environmental values, which proscribe keeping pest levels as low as possible, for the benefit of native flora and fauna.

    Establish recreation areas managed by hunters on conservation land using a framework that protects conservation values.

    This sounds like a prime example to me – allow tracts of conservation land to be destroyed by pests, for hunters’ benefit.

    National sound like they’re pandering to the hunters and anglers at the expense of everyone else.

    There is no evidence that hunters and anglers are disadvantaged by current environmental policy, no pressing need to put them ahead of the rest of new Zealand’s natural resource users, and no reason to weaken our environmental protection and allocation structure.

    So again we seem to have reactionary, ill-considered policy that seems harmless enough unless you stop to think about it.

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Unless you’re National.

  8. Phil 8

    Steve,

    As usual, you conclude wrong.

    You haven’t given an argument, you’ve given an interpretation on a series of statements. You know that there is a difference.

    I didn’t ask for identities of the ‘specialists’, merely an indication of what makes these individuals more ‘specialist’ (ie; less of a smarmy partisan know-it-all) than you or I.

  9. r0b 9

    SP – As you know Nats ECE policy will be more flexible and cover more kids but here is an interesting story from the Press on Labours “20 hrs Free’ farce http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/4627295a6009.html

    So the key line in this story is: “ABC are still charging $120 per week for the 20 hours of “free” care”. Followed soon after by: “ABC South Island manager Cindy Paul has not returned repeated calls by The Press. Raxworthy said Paul seemed perplexed when she explained her situation. Paul had told her she would get back to her after speaking to the person who set up the fee structure.”

    So here we have a private provider screwing up, and as usual Mike wants to blame the gummint. Meanwhile, in the real world, 79% of providers have signed up for the scheme and there is a huge uptake of 20 hours free (see eg http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/southlandtimes/4555935a6568.html )

  10. Matthew Pilott 10

    Phil, if you want to attack the credibility of the post, the intelligent thing to do would be to discredit the statements contained therein. If you can’t do that, it doesn’t matter who the ‘specialist’ is – because it means they know a lot more than you. I think that’s the case since the best you’ve come up with is some tedious hair-splitting.

  11. vto 11

    SP said this – “= 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.”

    Traditional users are trampers? Get offa the grass man – traditional use of wild areas by man is hunting, which leaves tramping for dead when it comes to tradition. Tramping is an indulgent luxury pursued by the rich.

    As for opening marine reserves up – no. I think you will find there is fast growing support for these. Simply because they actually increase fish stocks. I personally think every second 20km stretch of NZ’s coast should be turned into a reserve.

    SP also said “• Oppose the introduction of recreational sea fishing licences”

    Your opposition to this opposition is quite hilarious. I recall a few short years ago some minister (Dyson?) suggesting that boating should be regulated. The reason she gave? Because it is not regulated. ha ha ha ha ha hah ha ha. A major flaw of left-0style thinking. What purpose is there for sea fishing licences?

    etc.

    I spend a lot of time chasing fresh and saltwater fishys and also living in a hunting town. There is indeed a balance to be met. Your assessment Mr Pierson appears knee-jerk and unbalanced. Currently the left and their townie ideas hold sway and it does not sit well with others – the reason it doesn’t sit well? Because they see it as not reflecting the reality of the bush and wild areas.

    I think it, like most other polcies of the nats, is designed to re-adjust the current imbalance slightly more towards the centre where most people sit. There are an awful lot of people out here who resent where Clark et al have placed the current settings. Especially in the land of “feral inbreds” as she abusively referred to them.

  12. r0b 12

    Tramping is an indulgent luxury pursued by the rich.

    Can I just nominate that for the most ignorant statement made on The Standard this week?

  13. vto 13

    ha ha, thought it would get a bite.

    But it is. Who can afford to take time off to go tramping through the bush when you got a roof and food to provide? Check out piccies from 1800’s of those who went ‘tramping’ – it was only the rich. Think about it. Even in even older days.

    Only thing that distorts this truth is the fact that most everyone today is rich enough to go tramping.

  14. r0b 14

    ha ha, thought it would get a bite.

    Yo vto – bite my well worn boots!

    And check out your local tramping club. You will find a wonderful cross section of ordinary New Zealanders. Rich my ass.

  15. vto 15

    Will do my furry friend. I figured you must be a tramper and I’m sure you’re not wrong. Perhaps my point was too pointy.

  16. r0b 17

    I figured you must be a tramper

    Not often enough, only two trips so far this year. Sigh. I love the mountains. Puts politics in perspective (for a while)…

  17. Matthew Pilott 18

    Only twice r0b? For shame!

    vto, we can debate the merits of tramping or lack thereof, but given you seem to be taking a hunting over tramping view (or hunting over everything else) what do you think about using hunting as pest control? It only works when there’s a financial imperative, as I can tell, otherwise it allows pest proliferation because that makes hunting easier (lazy!).

    Regardless of the activity in which you indulge, shouldn’t the wilderness be the main consideration, not us? As I see it, people who head out into the bush to enjoy it are most likely to want to preserve it all – hunters just want more game.

    So in what way were the comments of this post knee-jerk and imbalanced? In what way is the balance not being met under Labour? Are we perhaps not sacrificing enough of the wilderness for our consumerism and consumption? Surely that’s the townie idea! (as I said – if it ain’t broke…)

    Interesting comments about marine reserves – it seems to be the only example where the environment reacts quickly enough to overuse (i.e. fish stocks gone by lunchtime if they’re not managed) that producers are supporting sustainability. However, I don’t think you should mistake this for protection of the environment.

    Support by fishers is purely self-centred, note the recent anger toward protecting Maui and Hector’s dolphins – so I guess there would only be support for marine reserves when it makes good commercial sense – once again, it’s putting our interests ahead of the environment.

    P.S this ‘feral inbred’ thing – wasn’t that a decade ago? And why was that said anyway…

  18. Anita 19

    To play the shared-political-spit game…

    Outdoor Rec joined United Future

    United Future put out pro-hunting policies

    United Future lost list seats, and through that Marc Alexander

    Outdoor Rec left United Future

    Marc Alexander joined Outdoor Rec

    Marc Alexander was selected as a candidate by National

    National put out pro-hunting policies.

  19. r0b 20

    Only twice r0b? For shame!

    Bbbbut! But! One was a 4 day trip! Sigh. I know I know, only twice. I might get one more in before I have to wander out of the country for a bit at the end of the year.

    To play the shared-political-spit game

    Eeeeeew!

  20. Anita 21

    r0b,

    To play the shared-political-spit game

    Eeeeeew!

    It might be icky, but it’s still a fun game – perhaps icky is required for real fun 🙂

    I reckon there should be extra points for any spit trail which doesn’t include Marc Alexander, Stephen Franks, Peter Dunne, Jim Anderton, Tariana Turia, Gordon Copeland, or Douglas and Prebble – they make it too easy. Perhaps decreased points for the racing lobby too 🙂

    Any thoughts on how to get the pro-hunting trail without Alexander?

  21. r0b 22

    perhaps icky is required for real fun

    Perhaps you are right – but I couldn’t possibly comment 🙂

    Any thoughts on how to get the pro-hunting trail without Alexander?

    Not from me, that’s all been a bit below my radar. Maybe someone else can join the spittle dots…

  22. vto 23

    Mr Pilott, I’m not a hunter. Overall I don’;t think the balance point is actually that far off. And as you say, the environment is of course the important consideration. If hunting or any other pursuit was starting to have a material damaging effect then of course controls would be necessary.

    However, the current settings imo sacrifice our place too much to overrated problems.

    The dolphin setnet ban is an example of overkill. I surf a lot on the west coast of the south island and EVERY time I go out the dolphins come around. They are plentiful. Fishermen over there who have always used nets say they never catch the dolphins – they see/sense the net and turn away. And now they just go 2km or whatever it is off the coast and set the nets there – and there just as many dolphoins out there. It was overkill.

    And here is a truth – many west coasters live on the smell of an oily rag. Many of the fishermen there fish not just for rec but also for food. You know – to eat and survive? That has just been made a lot harder and I don’t think that is right.

    I do not understand why we go around protecting only that fauna at the top of the food chain, such as seals and dolphns etc. It upsets the entire ecosystem. The poor old middle and bottom parts of the chain then get demolished by both the increasing number of predators at the top and by we humans. They hardly stand a chance. Seal populations are getting out of control (threatening me when I’m in the surf!).

    Surely the intelligent thing to do is protect, to an equal level, the entire food chain/ecosystem.

    Re hunters, what they are seeing and saying is that the policies etc don’t match the reality in the bush. They are asking for more input so all users and bush dwelling creatures can co-habitate. Nothing more, nothing less. They are greenies too – true. Both sides just need to sit down and talk and work together. Otherwise the clashes will simply carry on. That is what that part of the policy is saying.

    This area is a classic case of people talking past each other, who are in fact saying pretty much the same thing. Both sides just need to snuggle up a bit.

  23. Matthew Pilott 24

    vto, please send an urgent communication to DoC, they were looking for those dolphins and could barely find a hundred in a few years of looking! (Did you make a positive ID that they were Hectors or Maui dolphins? Otherwise you’re probably looking at a far more common variety, which is why the ban wasn’t overkill.)

    I disagree with your assessment of top-order predators depleting stocks of middle-of-the-food-chain beasties. Seal populations are still an order of magnitude below their pre-sealing levels, and their catch is nothing on ours! It’s difficult to protect everything equally when our ‘use’ of them is nowhere near proportional, but hopefully you’re right about marine reserves – they do seem to be popping up more and more.

    There is an element of truth to what you say though – conservation favours the cute, and the edible! A sad reflection on the fact that we can’t save them all from ourselves.

    What really concerns me (apart from hunters setting game pest levels – a genuine conflict of interest National could be advocating, though I bet this is as “specific” as this policy gets so they can keep it vague) is that more areas will be opened to commercial interests – helicopter game hunting, scenic flights, guided walks (with overcrowding on tracks, the private huts, and requisite helicopter flights to stock them), and other high-impact commercial activities in relatively unspoilt areas.

    If it ain’t broke…

  24. vto 25

    MP, I am telling the complete the truth re the dolphins. And they are maui and hectors. Been in the ocean for decades. Seen them for decades, as well as other dolphins, orca, humpback, sharks, the lot. I see these dolphins EVERY time, and also from shore an awful lot.

    The fact DOC struggles to count evn a hundred is perhaps what frustrates so many people. Namely, DOC’s reality is very different from the actual users reality. DOC doesn’t perhaps have the good handle on the situation that it thinks it has (and this is what the fishermen etc say isn’;t it).

    Honestly, EVERY time I go in the water. Usually a small pod of between 4 and 10. They come to within a few feet.

  25. Matthew Pilott 26

    Obviously this is a press release and can’t be taken as holy writ, but it illustrates an example of the current system – it implies a certain level of interrelationship between hunters and DoC, and suggests there’s a fair bit being done to respond to hunters’ needs.

    http://www.doc.govt.nz/templates/news.aspx?id=58264

    vto, I can’t dispute your observations from a personal basis, I don’t see dolphins that frequently, unfortunately! But it conflicts strongly with everything I’ve read about Maui dolphins, for example. WWF claims there are 110 left and while they have a motivation for stating a low number, they would also be likely to have a good idea of how many exist.

    Ministry of Fisheries and DoC also say the same – I suggest that you seeing dolphins regularly cannot be substitute for scientific survey of their populations.

    I note that WWF mention there used to be over 30k, now down to 7k – so they’ve definitely been there for decades (well actually millenia) but that’s not to say that will continue to be the case without something being done to prevent their decline.

  26. vto 27

    Thanks for that MP, good to see both sides getting together. Its got to be a better way.

    Re the dolphin counts – I dont know either but they are there as I say. Maybe the area of coast I spend time at and in is where they mostly hang out.

  27. Matthew Pilott 28

    Happy Saturday to you vto – I hope you’re staying out out the surf on the west coast today, I’d imagine it’s pretty rough out there…

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