National’s Conservation spokesperson Sarah Dowie welcomes the Government finally listening to hunting groups, including the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association and the Game Animal Council, and backing down from its original position to cull tens of thousands of tahr.
“Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage had ordered the culling of up to 25,000 tahr without adequately consulting with the hunting industry and recreational hunters who would be directly affected.
"Yesterday the Minister made changes to the locations of the cull and a commitment to review the cull after limiting it to an original 6000. She also conceded a reduction in the numbers of bulls to be killed, which would preserve tahr for trophy hunters.
“While I welcome the fact that Ms Sage has finally listened, I am disappointed it has taken so long for her to show respect to hunting groups.
“The Minister has no excuse for not adequately consulting with the hunting industry and recreational hunters before she made the decision to cull.
“It’s clear the only reason the Minister has pulled back is because the hunters were heading to court to stop her plans. Over $156,000 was raised through Givealittle to pay for lawyers to stop the cull.
“On top of this, almost 33,000 concerned New Zealanders signed my petition calling on her to stop the cull in its current form.
“National believes tahr numbers do need to be sensibly managed, but conservation decisions should be based on science not ideology, and should involve engagement with key stakeholders.”