Tahr Crisis In NZ
STOP PRESS - Late Development as at Thursday 27th September 2018 from the NZ Tahr Foundation
The Foundation has been working flat out over the last few days to keep ahead of the Minister's plans. There has been a lot we can’t share publicly just yet but today we can finally give you a bit of an update!
Firstly, we have secured agreements from most of the ammunition suppliers that they will not supply DoC with the necessary ammunition ‘til they have heeded the alternative plan being proposed by the GAC. They are all wholeheartedly on board, and any company which broke ranks would be solely responsible for the destruction of the herd – and incur the wrath of thousands of very upset tahr hunters!
As reported by the Otago Daily Times, DoC have recently switched to using non-toxic shot only, as during the Zero Invasive Predators trial in the Perth catchment Kea were found to have highly elevated levels of lead, ingested as a result of DoCs decades of culling with lead buckshot. This means only non-toxic projectiles and buckshot ammunition may be used going forward.
Secondly, a meeting has now been sought by the Minister and is going to take place on Monday in Christchurch. The NZTF has been invited to this, and at this meeting the alternative plan proposed by the tireless team at the GAC will be considered. DoC have assured us that no culling will take place before this meeting.
Thirdly, a second letter has been served to DoC by our legal team, and progress on an injunction is dependent on the outcome of Monday's meeting.
A huge thank you must go out to the incredibly generous donors, we wouldn’t be in such a strong position without your generosity, if nothing else the huge amount of money raised has made politicians sit up and take notice.
You can read how this situation has evolved over the past few weeks as we have already reported below:
In stunning developments across The Ditch, the NZ Labor Environment Minister, without any consultation with stakeholders, has flagged their Department of Conservation (DOC) intent to conduct widespread culling of the vast majority of Himalayan tahr in the South Island. It has met with stiff opposition. Read on.
While we in NSW are facing widespread recreational fishing lockouts and new committees set up to harass shooters wioth parliamentary support, the Kiwis have potentially lost a multi-million dollar industry around tahr hunting and reds, wapiti, trout and salmon are in the spotlight for total eradication from bureacracy and green-leaning government overreach gone mad.
Our Kiwi outfitter mate, John Royle, has been furiously facebooking us to keep us in the loop and much of what follows here comes from him and The Tahr Foundation, a body set up to manage tahr in NZ as a sustainable resource on behalf of NZ and overseas sportsmen and women. This has come about amid DOC's widespread aerial dropping of raw 1080 baits for possums, with the result that many non-target species, like native kea, have suffered agonizing deaths. I have learned that 1080 has 10 times the lethality on humans as possums, so trampers in baited areas where water has been contaminated could easily be affected.
But back to tahr, the species which is shaping up as the test case for the Government. Prominent hunter and hunting magazine publisher, Greg Duley, in anticipation of this culling madness arising, formed the Tahr Foundation some time back, in order to counter the zealous Greens who love to kill, given the chance. When the threat arose, reasonable-minded Kiwi outdoorsmen banded together to protest, while threatening a High Court injunction to stay DOC's hand, Below is a letter on the effect of the Tahr Foundation's concerted action with input from the Game Animal Council (GAC), a body formed by act of parliament in the past to manage hunting in NZ. Here is an update from Roger Duxfield, GAC Councillor to John Royle:
The Minister called Don Hammond yesterday (Don's last and only other contact lasted 15 minutes) and spoke for an extended period of time. All I can say is that there appears to be some favourable progress. She tried to come across as being naive, e.g. she had instructed that only inaccessible animals be taken above 300 metres, Don pointed out that Twizel is at 300m, Erewhon homestead is at 700m
The Minister noted that the DoC email system has crashed and her inbox is also jammed up. Also of note is the contractors undertaking the cull are virtually out of the environ friendly ammunition they are supposed to use (under 2000 rounds) and our sports industry suppliers are holding out on our behalf. Just have to make sure some international supplier does not send more in.
I will be with the Minister at the Sika show in Taupo next weekend . My first question was does she have security with her (1080 and Tahr issues) and because I'm alongside do I get security as well?
Below is the text from the Tahr foundation
Will keep you posted as best as I can as I think things are going to move quite quickly.
As a GAC councillor I am bound by statute as to what I can say and do without going through the Minister but be assured the GAC is doing all it can on your behalf and I am confident that we will get a positive outcome but that does not mean that you do not continue to put pressure on where you think it is necessary because at the end of the day your business depends on a positive outcome.
And here is the latest commnication from the Tahr Foundation indicating consolidated opposition has worked so far.
Halt to Official Information Act Requests (OIA's)
Ok, we've had a long talk and think about this, and now believe we should give DOC some breathing space. We've swamped them with submissions, OIA requests, demands to stop the cull and consult properly with us. And we've sent them a letter from our lawyers telling them if they do not stop the propaganda immediately and consult properly, we will start legal proceedings.
In light of all this, we're going to hold off any more OIA requests to give them time to consider what we've said and give them an opportunity to come back to us and work constructively going forward. So keep the submissions rolling in telling the politicians what you think, and continue the donations to the givealittle fund, but no more OIA requests for the time being.
Otherwise keep up the good work, and don't stop with the pressure and momentum we're building!
They have also urged people to be sensible and rational:
The outrage felt by the hunting community over the directive of the Minister of Conservation is clear, but the battle for sensible management has only just begun. For us to demand “sensible” from the Minister, we ourselves must lead by example and show maturity in our communication. Let us remember what it is we aim to achieve, and we must continue to hold the high ground. We urge all interested parties to keep your heads and focus. We will need to work with the Department for sensible management to occur. Most people who work in our local DOC offices are good people and many support us in our cause. Many are the people who have fought for years to develop a positive relationship with hunters and do not wish to see their work undermined any more than we do. Everyone’s support in this cause is essential and most welcome, including those who work for DOC who recognise the importance of this resource to the New Zealand community and the enormous contribution hunters make to conservation nationwide.
So in short play hard, play smart but keep all action clean & fair. We do not condone any damage, vandalism or intimidation, it will only alienate people and weaken our cause. Remember - united we stand, divided we fall!
Keep up the pressure, spread the word, send submissions and let's hope this leads to sustainable management of our tahr resource going forward!
For additional background information, readers can source it here
Despite the NZ Environment Minister's apparent backflip on this issue (much like Niall Blair's in NSW with Rec' Fishing Lockouts, it remains to be seen what the final outcome is. If you wish to donate to the Tahr Foundation fight, go to their Facebook Page in the fourth paragaraph above. We wish them all the best in their fight against unreasobnable and draconian environmental idealogues.