Angry anglers casting into dangerous waters

Anyone with the appropriate licence can fish most waterways in New Zealand but no-one has ever had the freedom to cross private land without permission to get to fishing spots.

In the past it would have been rare for farmers to refuse permission but anglers are getting upset because a few landowners are now giving exclusive rights to access to commercial guides:

In a growing number of “exclusive capture” deals, mostly in prime backcountry, “large sums” have been paid to landowners for the sole right to fish on their land, the New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers says.

Rich foreigners and celebrities . . .  pay thousands of dollars for guided helicopter fishing expeditions on New Zealand’s most prized trout rivers.

This is a legitimate way for farmers to make money and could well mean the difference between profit and loss given poor returns for meat and wool in recent years.

The government, correctly, says landowners have the right to do this although it has asked the Walking Access Commission to negotiate for open access where it’s restricted.

Agriculture Minister David Carter said although there were probably more, he was aware of fewer “than a dozen” places where the deals were in place. He personally felt it was the legitimate property right of an owner to sell exclusive access for fishing.

“… the owner of the property certainly has the ability to restrict access and therefore to maximise the economic potential of a fishing spot to the advantage of that property owner.”

However, he had asked the commission to negotiate more open access, including offering cash enticements to landowners.

Negotiation is the right way to approach this and the offer of payment recognises that landowners would be forgoing an income-earning opportunity.

It’s is a far more reasonable approach than the bluster from the Federation of Freshwater Anglers:

Federation president Jim Hale said parts of rivers in the North Island and South Island had been captured by “unscrupulous commercial interests”.

“It is practised by those who have captured these trout fishing waters for their own financial profiteering, even though the running water and the fish within them do not belong to them.

“We will fight this scourge wherever we find it, with whoever is involved, with all of the determination and resources at our disposal,” Mr Hale said.

Anglers will be casting into very dangerous waters if their actions match this rhetoric. Fighting property rights is usually the preserve of despots; it would be a very sad day for democracy if it succeeded here.

Fishing can be a lucrative tourist venture. Guides and others who supply services to anglers make money from it so it’s not unreasonable for landowners to want something too.

Negotiation and compensation are the weapons the anglers should be use if they’re unhappy about that, not confrontation.

Advertisements

15 Responses to Angry anglers casting into dangerous waters

  1. Hollyfield says:

    I agree with you. After all, if a restaurant is booked for a private function we don’t complain, we just go to another restaurant.

    Also though, I suspect these exclusive access arrangements are not used every day. Perhaps the farmers could be encouraged to negotiate with commercial guides dates when the guides will not bring visitors, and those dates could be publicised on a website as being open to the public.

  2. Down in polls says:

    “Fighting property rights is usually the preserve of despots; it would be a very sad day for democracy if it succeeded here”

    Maori are arguing that as prior occupiers of tribal areas at the time of colonization they have an aboriginal title which should become a property right under common law. Do you support that position?

    Do you support the right of property owners to market overseas to buy pass shallow pocketed New Zealanders?

    in total 57 properties and projects listed by Harcourts from Whangarei to Queenstown and with a total value of around $825 million are being showcased in the multiple sessions being held each day at the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Shanghai business centre,

  3. robertguyton says:

    Buy a GPS and a map that shows paper roads and carefully make your way.

  4. homepaddock says:

    “Maori are arguing that as prior occupiers of tribal areas at the time of colonization they have an aboriginal title which should become a property right under common law. Do you support that position?”

    It’s difficult to give a straight yes or no answer to that question because other people may now have ownership of the land in question. However I do support giving compensation, as happens with Treaty settlements, if land which did belong to Maori can’t be returned.

    “Do you support the right of property owners to market overseas to buy pass shallow pocketed New Zealanders?”

    Yes.

  5. Down in polls says:

    “Do you support the right of property owners to market overseas to buy pass shallow pocketed New Zealanders?”

    Yes.

    Do you support poor Joe Smucks from Bangladesh making their way here to sell their labour for less than Kiwi workers?

    As Harcourts agent said:
    ““We’re all New Zealanders, we all love the country so I think it’s healthy for us to have the debate and make the right decisions for our country…. but hey!…. young people coming through see it as “our planet” rather than “our country”

  6. Down in polls says:

    “Maori are arguing that as prior occupiers of tribal areas at the time of colonization they have an aboriginal title [sorry I missed out] to the foreshore and seabed, which should become a property right under common law. Do you support that position?”

    It’s difficult to give a straight yes or no answer to that question because other people may now have ownership of the land in question. However I do support giving compensation, as happens with Treaty settlements, if land which did belong to Maori can’t be returned.

  7. robertguyton says:

    Ha!
    Out.
    Manouvered!
    (That’s going to be expensive Ele! Have you told John?)

  8. Richard says:

    The New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers ought to look at the UK. For centuries landowners have been charging for fishing rights. It offsets maintaining their land where much of the agricultural opportunities are marginal. Pleased to see land owners here are catching up- coming of age.

  9. homepaddock says:

    DITP: It’s still difficult to give a straight answer with the addition of foreshore and seabed because customary use isn’t exactly the same as ownership. However, the Bill being considered by the select committee now is trying to address that.

    “Do you support poor Joe Smucks from Bangladesh making their way here to sell their labour for less than Kiwi workers?”

    I don’t see the link between this question and this thread but I don’t have a problem with people from overseas working here providing they have work visas and their employers meet all legal requriements which includes minimum wages.

    Richard – in spite of Britain’s right to roam which generally gives the public more access to and across private land, you’re right that landowners have been charging for fishing – and hunting – for centuries.

  10. robertguyton says:

    Right to roam?
    Do we have that here Ele?
    Seems a very good idea 🙂
    I’m surprised that you favour ‘charging for fishing – and hunting’. Haven’t you read Robin Hood? If you have, did you learn nothing?

  11. homepaddock says:

    We don’t have right to roam here, Robert. You’ve lost me with Robin Hood.

  12. Richard says:

    Robin Hood was a poacher. Now they have game keepers- great employment opportunity out of Robin’s deeds.
    Ele: DITP, was going great guns- not that I agree with him/her- but lost all creditability quoting a Harcouts agent. Clearly clutching at straws. Quoting Winston Peters would be the only thing sillier

  13. Down in polls says:

    Property rights apply to farmers who hold access to natural recreational features.
    Property rights do not apply to tribal territory at time of colonisation (as in aboriginal title to the foreshore and seabed). That’s what the Green Party and Maori Party want.

    Free trade applies to land where wealthy foreigners from countries with ginourmous populations can buy NZ property (China has 300,000 millionaires). Because that is good for the wealthy?

    Is land improved by having one exclusive mansion or 10 baches?

  14. Down in polls says:

    I don’t think the issue here is charging per se, it is the fact that NZ’rs live in a country with a lot of natural assets and have taken their lifestyle for granted.Now it has been discovered (a Chinese leader called it “the last paradise”). We are seeing a breed of rich individual with wealth off the scale (compared to your average Kiwi) allowed to feast on the best outdoor experience (and property) we have available.

  15. robertguyton says:

    It’s a feudal thing Richard.
    Some see it as a good thing (the Lords – I’m thinking Ashcroft et al).
    Others not so much.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: