Farmers fighting back

Fish & Game is blaming bad weather for a drop in the purchase of fishing licenses.

The weather might be partly to blame, but fewer people forking out for licenses is also a sign that farmers are fighting back:

Bernadette Hunt, who farms north of Gore, said a dismal start to summer in the south wasn’t a factor in her family’s decision not to buy a licence. 

Her sentiments were echoed by farmers around the country, some of whom had been paying the annual licence fee for decades. 

Hunt, who is vice-president of Federated Farmers in Southland, told Stuff farmers were frustrated with Fish & Game’s unbalanced approach to water quality issues.

“If there’s an issue that can be attributed to anything rural, they’re all over it but if it’s urban, Fish & Game is silent,” she said.

“It’s a political attack on farmers and I think if they were being more even-handed, farmers wouldn’t be so put out.” . . 

Dairy farmers have fenced around 97% of waterways bordering their farms, that’s tens of thousands of kilometres of fencing.

They’ve also planted many hectares of riparian strips.

There is still a lot of work to be done, and there is no excuse of farmers who aren’t following best practice to make sure waterways on and near their farms are clean.

But Fish & Game needs to give credit where it’s due and stop their war against farmers, especially when this summer problems with dirty water haven’t been caused by cows but birds and people.

Fish & Game ought to be working with farmers, not fighting against them.

The organisation has only itself to blame that farmers are fighting back and part of the cost of that is a drop in revenue from licence purchases.

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