Licence fees ammo for farmers’ critic

Farmers who hunt are helping Fish and Game NZ take pot shots at them, Federated Farmers’ Waikato provincial president James Houghton says.

Fish and Game will be laughing their way to the bank after Duck Shooting season kicked off on Saturday. With a compulsory subscription system, opening weekend for Duck Shooting season sees hundreds of licenses being brought from the organisation.

What irks me is that it is guaranteed revenue for Fish and Game with no need to service those who fund them. I am not against people paying for licenses but it is the way Fish and Game then uses the money that I find so unpalatable.

Most of Fish and Game’s subscribers are the very farmers that they spend the majority of their time submitting against and taking to court, trying to protect their hunting business. You can see the irony in an organisation that is focused on killing as a sport publicly banging their chests about the environment, then using the revenue they‘ve collected off farmers to frame an expensive argument, which protects their legislative gravy train rather than environment. . .

I am all for licenses to own and use a gun (gun license) as well as responsible hunting laws, but this system is not for the hunter this is all about revenue for Fish and Game, personally I would rather pay a Government organisation double what I pay Fish and Game than continue to fund their attack on farmers .

There is a bit of confusion here with the public perception that Fish and Game are an environmental organisation. Don’t be fooled – the wetlands they create are merely so they can breed more pests for us to pay them to shoot. I would say they are a self serving business rather than environmental stewards. There really is no difference between that and a hunting park – the animals are protected so they can build up a population large enough to be hunted at certain times of the year.  The ridiculous thing is that this doesn’t need to be legislated, farmers do this already, and with a clear enthusiasm for the sport it wouldn’t be hard to rustle up sponsorship to do exactly what Fish and Game do without the farce of pretending to care about the environment. If there was nothing to hunt there would still be an environment, but no Fish and Game.

In the Waikato, to help increase duck numbers, Fish and Game are shortening the duck shooting season. This to me shows their true colours – that they are not environmental stewards they are purely a hunting business. From my perspective the lack of ducks is a good thing for water quality going forward – do we really need more ducks?

Tests on water above and below farms with ponds often show it’s ducks and other water fowl which foul the water, not animals or farming practices.

With no accountability to those who pay their salaries, it is with a sour taste in my mouth that I will be duck shooting this season. Solution – I encourage the Government to either, create a voluntary subscription system ensuring our money is spent wisely, and that Fish and Game has a true mandate that represents its members, or alternatively remove them completely, stick to the hunting laws that already exist.

Fish and Game has damaged relationships with farmers over its actions subverting property rights on issues such as public access to private land and  tenure review.

It’s a sore point that farmers and their friends who buy licences to shoot pests subsidise court action and other campaigns against them.

They’re paying for the ammo their critics fire at them.

17 Responses to Licence fees ammo for farmers’ critic

  1. Paranormal says:

    A small point – farmers shooting on their own property don’t have to buy a license.

    Otherwise totally agree that Fish & Game seem to have too close a relationship with the more puritanical Forest and Bird that has coloured their work with stakeholders.

  2. homepaddock says:

    Thanks, Paranormal, I should have made it clear you don’t need a hunting licence to shoot on your own land. A lot of farmers shoot on other peoples land too.

  3. Southern says:

    “Tests on water above and below farms with ponds often show it’s ducks and other water fowl which foul the water, not animals or farming practices”
    I’m no Greenie, but comments like this don’t help your cause one little bit. Yes ducks and other fowl contaminate water, but struth, one cow crap equals about a year of a duck crapping. Get your head out of the sand mate, esp if it’s sand from a dairy farm cos you will end up with some horrible disease

  4. homepaddock says:

    Ducks crap in the water. Cows crap on grass and providing you have fenced your waterways and have filtering plants it doesn’t degrade water quality.

  5. Mr E says:

    Southern – very naive mate. Dairy farmers have fenced off water ways. I often look for evidence of unfenced dairy waterways. I have not seen any in well over 12 months.

    Oddly enough you have completely overlooked beef farming which has little legal requirement to fence of water ways. That highlights to me – your ride a band wagon of emotive nonsense.

    Ele,
    I for one have taken action – For the last 20 years without fail I have purchased a duck shooting licence. My friends will identify me as a keen hunter. But not this year. Nope, the gun stays in the safe, I am proud to say. A factor in that decision was recent behaviours of Fish and Game. I think they have been bullying farmers and I’ll not support that.

    Do I think my boycott will start a trend? I doubt it. Duck shooting is bigger than Christmas for many involved and Fish and Game knows this. I reckon their constant farmer bashing, with their backs turned shows this.

    Personally I believe competition needs to exist in the licencing sector. Regulation does not need to be a one horse race undermined by a one trick pony. Multiple agencies would provide people the chance to avoid the bullying behaviour that Fish and Game appears to be showing.

    Feds have done a good job of shining a light on their behaviour. Good work feds.

    Bare minimum farmers should make sure they request voting papers when they buy a licence. Have your say when you buy a licences. End the tyranny, so to speak.

  6. Mr E says:

    Also Paranormal- many farmers have siblings that shoot. Only one free sibling is allowed. No more than one. That means farmers still often buy licences.

  7. Paranormal says:

    Mr E as Homepaddock pointed out that a lot of farmers shoot on other properties. I did mention it was only a small point.

    I used to be an avid duck hunter as well but gave it away after steel shot was brought in.

  8. Mr E says:

    Yeh,
    I was just making a small point too.

    So the actions of Fish and Game have put you off too.
    I wonder how many others there are?

    Maybe you started a trend? Perhaps I am on a band wagon?

  9. willdwan says:

    My wife has a pet paradise duck called Ducky. She mostly lives on our deck. An incredibly filthy animal, it is amazing how much crap one pampered bird can produce. It’s made me wonder about the waterways too.

  10. TraceyS says:

    Farmers also pay rates to help fund battles against them:

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/252101/high-court-sets-aside-disturbed-riverbed-finding

    Where’s the difference?

  11. Paranormal says:

    Absolutely Mr E you are on the right track (is that a bandwagon?).

    When an organisation starts losing its core stakeholders you have to question the organisation’s direction.

  12. Mr E says:

    Tracey – You don’t think their behaviour is bullying?

  13. Paranormal says:

    Tracey – there’s a big difference between a membership organisation like Fish & Game and a statutory body like local government.

    Having said that both need to support their members/stakeholders. Local Government are far too quick to take legal action against their own ratepayers. We’ve had numerous examples in our own council. It just a sad reflection on the state of local government in New Zealand. Kinda have to ask yourself why they needed to be given the power of general competence in legislation. Was there something lacking in reality?

  14. TraceyS says:

    I’ve always found them good. Really helpful actually. But I guess it’s the principle that is the issue – license fees being used to take action against licensees. Fighting you with your own money so to speak. But that happens everywhere! Doesn’t mean it’s right though.

  15. TraceyS says:

    “…there’s a big difference between a membership organisation like Fish & Game and a statutory body like local government”

    No, I disagree. One reason people have problems is that we (and they) don’t see local government as a membership based organisation. Far too often the member and the organisation ignore one another, except for the necessary transactions, until things go wrong. Then they have a day (or a year or three) of reckoning.

    At least with an organisation like Fish & Game you can opt out. If you don’t like paying your compulsory membership to your local authority then you have to up and move. And even then then next one might not be any better.

    I’d like to see competition but I am not sure how it would work. I was involved in getting competition going in the retail electricity market at the very outset and that seemed an impossible challenge back then too. So maybe it is not unachievable.

  16. Paranormal says:

    We’re agreed then Tracey. The big issue for local government, apart from compentency, is the disconnect between council staff and the community they serve. Maybe we should talk further. I’m also involved in trying to get our local council more responsive to stakeholders

  17. Mr E says:

    Tracey,
    No – I can’t opt out. If I wish to shoot ducks – I have to buy a licence. Just like if I wish to live in Invercargill I have to pay Invercargill city council rates.

    The only possible way of legally getting around it is to buy land containing a duck pond, enough land that I can shoot legally without affecting neighbours.

    Is that realistic or fair?

    You have always found F & G good?
    Always?
    http://www.presscouncil.org.nz/display_ruling.php?case_number=863

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