Conservation Minister to operate outside mandate

The Conservation Minster’s handling of a ministerial review into the governance of Fish and Game will see hunters and anglers side-lined from the organisation they pay for, National’s Conservation spokesperson Jacqui Dean says.

“Fish and Game receives no Government money, yet the implementation steering group, led by former Department of Conservation staffer Ray Grubb is embarking on changes that will see the Conservation Minister wield significant power and control over the user pays organisation.

“It’s a massive overreach for the Conservation Minister to decide who fills 18 of the 42 regional council seats, and also appoint half of the Fish and Game Council board members, including the Chair.

“The Minister would also have the right to remove any councillor, regardless of whether they are appointed or elected.

“Changes were needed to put an end to the infighting which has plagued Fish and Game in recent years, but inserting Government appointees to this extent goes too far and reduces the local input of license holders.

“Fish and Game’s main objective needs to be managing, maintaining and enhancing sports fish and game birds and ensuring that our important hunting and fishing habitat is being looked after.

“It needs to focus on the issues that matter to the hunters and anglers who pay its levies. I question how the Conservation Minister appointing 22 people into governance roles, will achieve that.”