Fish and Game

July 29th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

Conservation Minister Nick Smith is considering legal action after he was accused of trying to stop advocacy group Fish and Game from lobbying for cleaner rivers.

Dr Smith attended a meeting with Fish and Game Council, an independent advocacy group, on July 18.

Association of Freshwater Anglers president David Haynes said Dr Smith bullied councillors at the meeting and appeared to be trying to get them to pull back on their lobbying on water quality. …

Dr Smith rejected these claims, saying a Department of Conservation official had taken a record of the meeting which did not match the accusations of political interference.

He told Radio New Zealand he wanted Fish and Game to engage more with agriculture and irrigation in order to get the best outcomes for freshwater quality.

“While it is absolutely right for them to advocate for freshwater, I do think they sometimes got into the space of being anti New Zealand’s most important industry, that being the dairy industry.”

The minister released the DOC official’s notes this morning. One of the bullet points in the notes said: “F&G need to work out what they want to be: a statutory body [with] legislation and a relationship with Government, or an NGO?”

I agree 1000% with the bullet point. Fish and Game can be a body with statutory forcible funding from hunters and fishers or it can be a lobby group where people who share its views voluntarily decide to join it and fund it.  But it can not be both. Lobby groups should be funded by those who share their views, not funded by taxpayers or though a legislative levy.  That is not to say such organisations can not express a view on issues, but there is a line between expressing a view and using your statutory funding to run partisan campaigns.

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23 Responses to “Fish and Game”

  1. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    ARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH

    I agree 1000% with the bullet point

    WHY must you commentators insist on doing this. You cannot more than fully agree. It is NOT possible to agree by more than the total amount, being 100%

    Okay …. carry on.

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  2. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    We need to compile a list of things that would have done the country good, that have been successfully blocked by people who want to stand in freezing water up to their balls all day, failing to catch any fish, as a way of having fun – and think that their peculiar hobby is simply more important.

    I’ll start:

    1) Project Aqua power scheme on the lower Waitaki River.

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  3. Chris2 (762 comments) says:

    The plethora of Womens Refuge’s are another example of funding by the taxpayer being used to lobby against the Government.

    Same thing with the Problem Gambling Foundation.

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  4. Demosthenes (3 comments) says:

    Let’s start with a simple law change to revert F&G to its original name The Acclimatisation Society.
    This is their real role: advocating for and protecting introduced species.
    Lord knows its ridiculous that the Responsible Minister is the Minister of Conservation.
    Next, let’s ask Bryce Johnston how all that didymo is getting spread around. How’s that going for water quality?

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  5. MT_Tinman (3,135 comments) says:

    Demosthenes (2 comments) says:
    July 29th, 2014 at 1:20 pm
    Let’s start with a simple law change to revert F&G to its original name The Acclimatisation Society.

    As a license holder I agree.

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  6. CryHavoc (46 comments) says:

    Agree completely DPF. It must really stick in the craw of dairy farmers who have to buy licenses to fish and hunt, only to have that license fee used to bash them over the head (mixing metaphors a bit here but you get the point).

    It’s outrageous that F&G have no accountability to their license holders and I really hope Nick Smith mans up and sorts them out.

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  7. Yogibear (361 comments) says:

    The organisation needs structural reform

    Its a regulatory body first and foremost. Issue licences, prosecute offenders.

    Its second function is education

    Its advocacy role is the equivalent of putting the Cycling Advocates Network on the board of the NZ Transport Agency.

    Smith is right to tell them to stick to their knitting.

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  8. tvb (4,364 comments) says:

    David Haynes is not friendly to the Government. But Nick Smith has an odd confrontational personality so it is of no surprise there is tension. John Key has ordered him to drop the lawsuit. I assume he will.

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  9. SW (240 comments) says:

    Coming from the guy that valued free speech so highly as to arrange billboard campaigns associating political leaders with authoritarian dictators, this really is hypocrisy of the highest order.

    So they can only have public views on things people like yourself deem ‘not partisan’, whatever that means.

    [DPF: Don't lie about my views. If they are an NGO they can advocate for whatever they like. If they are funded by taxpayers or through a compulsory levy, then they can't. Simple]

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  10. Tom Barker (138 comments) says:

    “John Key has ordered him to drop the lawsuit. I assume he will.

    I hope he won’t . Go ahead and sue, Nick – show us how much of a dick you can be when you try. He’ll probably tear off all his clothes in the dock while giving evidence.

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  11. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Isn’t it their job to advocate on behalf of the users who purchase licences? Who presumably have a strong interest in freshwater management?

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  12. flipper (3,982 comments) says:

    The worst of these quasi NGO lobby groups are in the food and beverage areas, and their campaign against types of food, alcoholic beverages, and latterly soda pops.

    Do these issues not involve fundamental freedoms???

    This was the point made recently by The Australian Commissioner for Human Rights when he said in Wellington on July 1 (REFER TO EARLIER KB POSTS):

    *** ““Arguably the most forgotten of all human rights is property. Of all the forgotten freedoms I talk about, property rights appears to be the one that attracts the most response. Yet it should be utterly uncontroversial. Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others’ and ‘no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property’.
    “Property rights are not just about physical property ……….
    “Property rights underpin attracting foreign investment ….…..
    However, the biggest frontiers around the full realisation of property are in the personal -domain. If people own their own bodies then what role is there for government to tell them what they can do with it? ….”

    BLOODY FOOD, FISH, GAME, ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE Nazis…..

    OFF TO THE EXTERMINATION CAMPS WITH THEM…. :-)

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  13. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    Have a read of the relevant part of the Conservation Act (below). Sections b i&v, c iii, and e i seem particularly relevant. This Government doesn’t criticism well does it?

    26Q Functions of Fish and Game Councils

    (1) The functions of each Fish and Game Council shall be to manage, maintain, and enhance the sports fish and game resource in the recreational interests of anglers and hunters, and, in particular,—

    (a) to assess and monitor—

    (i) sports fish and game populations; and

    (ii) the success rate and degree of satisfaction of users of the sports fish and game resource; and

    (iii) the condition and trend of ecosystems as habitats for sports fish and game:

    (b) to maintain and improve the sports fish and game resource—

    (i) by maintaining and improving access; and

    (ii) by maintaining the hatchery and breeding programmes, where required for stocking or restocking the sports fisheries and game habitat; and

    (iii) by formulating and recommending to the New Zealand Fish and Game Council conditions for fishing and game seasons; and

    (iv) by ensuring that there are sufficient resources to enforce fishing and hunting season conditions; and

    (v) by undertaking such works as may be necessary to maintain and enhance the habitat of sports fish and game, subject to the approval of the Minister, the land owner, or the administering authority, as the case may require:

    (c) to promote and educate—

    (i) by defining and promoting ethical standards of behaviour to be followed by anglers and hunters; and

    (ii) by promoting recreation based on sports fish and game; and

    (iii) by keeping anglers and hunters informed on matters affecting their interests:

    (d) in relation to costs,—

    (i) to assess the costs attributable to the management of sports fish and game; and

    (ii) to develop and recommend to the New Zealand Fish and Game Council appropriate licence fees to recover costs and game bird habitat stamp fees; and

    (iii) to represent the region’s interests with the New Zealand Fish and Game Council in the determination and distribution of levies on licences:

    (e) in relation to planning,—

    (i) to represent the interests and aspirations of anglers and hunters in the statutory planning process; and

    (ii) to formulate and adopt an annual operational work plan; and

    (iii) to prepare draft sports fish and game management plans in accordance with this Act; and

    (iv) to identify and recommend to the New Zealand Fish and Game Council the region’s sports fish and game requirements for research; and

    (v) to implement national policy determined by the New Zealand Fish and Game Council; and

    (vi) to liaise with local Conservation Boards; and

    (vii) to advocate the interests of the Council, including its interests in habitats:

    (f) to issue—

    (i) licences to hunt or kill game, and game bird habitat stamps, in accordance with the Wildlife Act 1953 and any regulations made under it; and

    (ii) licences to take sports fish, in accordance with this Part and any regulations made under this Act; and

    (iii) game hunting guide licences in accordance with the Wildlife Act 1953 and sports fishing guide licences in accordance with this Act:

    (g) to sell or arrange the sale of, in New Zealand or outside New Zealand, game bird habitat stamps and associated products:

    (h) to recommend to the New Zealand Fish and Game Council the form of game bird habitat stamps.

    (2) Each Fish and Game Council shall have such other functions as are conferred on it by or under this Act or any other Act.

    (3) The following provisions shall apply in respect of operational work plans:

    (a) each Fish and Game Council shall prepare such a plan annually:

    (b) such plans shall be submitted to the Minister for the Minister’s approval if there is no sports fish and game management plan for the time being in force for the area:

    (c) the Minister shall approve or amend plans submitted under paragraph (b):

    (d) subject to paragraph (e), such plans shall have effect on and from the date of their completion by a Council but shall be subject to any amendments made by the Minister:

    (e) if there is no management plan for any species of sports fish or game for the time being in force for the region of a Council, those provisions of the Council’s operational work plan that relate to the management of those species for which there is no management plan shall not have effect until approved by the Minister.

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  14. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I particularly like section 26Q(1)(e)(vii):
    to advocate the interests of the Council, including its interests in habitats.
    Seems to me that Fish and Game is doing exactly what is required under the law. Maybe DPF should advocate for a law change.

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  15. Tarquin North (261 comments) says:

    The Standard are screaming for his resignation which probably means he’s 1000% right. Speaking of strange pressure groups, I see the YWCA is taking out full page ads in the Horrid demanding a pay rise for women. how does this work? I thought they were a psuedo cristian outfit for young woman not to mention a charity.

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  16. SW (240 comments) says:

    “Don’t lie about my views. If they are an NGO they can advocate for whatever they like. If they are funded by taxpayers or through a compulsory levy, then they can’t. Simple”

    Appreciate you taking time to reply DPF – not sure how I lied about your views though?

    1) ‘Advocate’ is subjective, why can no government department publicaly express views on areas they specialise in?
    2) It isn’t a compulsary levy, nobody is forced to fish
    3) If what you mean is that monopoly’s shouldn’t advocate becuase of their privileged status, what is the principled distinction between a statutory created monopoly and privately owned monopoly? Or a duopology, such as our supermarkets?

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  17. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    “If they are an NGO they can advocate for whatever they like. If they are funded by taxpayers or through a compulsory levy, then they can’t. Simple”

    Says who? The rules according to Farrar that he makes up as he goes along?
    What about section 26Q(1)(e)(vii): “to advocate the interests of the Council, including its interests in habitats.”?

    If the Minister of Conservation was doing his job then he wouldn’t be in this mess.

    The rule of Farrar: You can advocate for anything you like, as long as you don’t criticise the Government.

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  18. peterwn (3,243 comments) says:

    RPM – yes, that can put them on a short fuse – as Rod Vaughan can confirm.

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  19. RJL (145 comments) says:

    As MikeG points out Fish and Game is advocating in exactly the way that they are under statutory obligation to do.

    Smith’s problem is merely that this advocacy conflicts with National’s policies: which is because of the effect of National’s policies.

    If Smith doesn’t like this he merely needs to either get better policies or explain how Fish and Game’s concerns are wrong/unimportant. Which is exactly how organisations like Fish and Game are meant to function.

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  20. AG (1,824 comments) says:

    there is a line between expressing a view and using your statutory funding to run partisan campaigns.

    Care to substantiate the claim that F&G are running “partisan” campaigns?

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  21. Mark (1,480 comments) says:

    “While it is absolutely right for them to advocate for freshwater, I do think they sometimes got into the space of being anti New Zealand’s most important industry, that being the dairy industry.”

    How stupid does smith think the NZ public is. For those of us who get out and enjoy the rivers the pollution by the dairy industry is self evident and a major concern. I doubt any thinking NZr wants to damage the dairy industry but to think they can in any way be self regulating when it comes to stopping the runoff from dairy farms into our waterways sits up there with belief in the tooth fairy.

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  22. m@tt (628 comments) says:

    Pull your head in David, you are letting your ideology trump both reality and logic.

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  23. greenjacket (459 comments) says:

    F&G undertake political advocacy. It is completely inappropriate for a body funded by a compulsory levy to do this.
    I hope that in National’s next term they amend the Conservation Act (and other legislation) to prevent taxpayer funded organisations from undertaking political advocacy.

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