Play Your Part

FGNZ NC HIghCountry36Anglers and hunters are being urged to make sure they are registered to vote in this year’s Fish & Game elections.

The elections are held every three years to select councillors for the 12 Fish & Game regions to help govern this country’s outstanding freshwater fisheries and game bird hunting.

Any full season licenceholder is eligible to vote as long as they've registered as a voter, which is easily done when they buy their licence.

The Chairman of Fish & Game New Zealand Council Lyndsay Lyons is encouraging people to ensure they're registered and to stand in this year’s elections.

“Like any organisation, Fish & Game needs to keep changing to stay relevant.

"We need new blood coming through the ranks to ensure there are new ideas and the energy to put them into action,” Mr Lyons says.

“We've always been lucky to have great women and men willing to be on Fish and Game councils, and our organisation has benefitted from their hard work and commitment.

“They aren’t doing it for the money or the love of attending council meetings and reading agendas and reports. 

"They are doing it because they care and want to leave our great hunting and fishing resources in better shape than they found them,” Mr Lyons says.

Lyndsay Lyons says the legacy of those decades of work is that Fish & Game has evolved into an organisation which punches well above its weight.   

“Fish & Game represents more than the interests of anglers and hunters – it is also the public’s champion when it comes to important issues like water quality, pollution, the environment and access to the outdoors,” he says.

“As a result, it’s a force to be reckoned with.”

Lyndsay Lyons is particularly keen on getting more women anglers and hunters to become councillors.

“We have some great female councillors but we need more.

"There are many women who enjoy hunting and fishing and I encourage them to put their names forward as candidates,” he says.

The elections are scheduled for late this year, beginning in September and ending in October.

Robert Sowman is Fish & Game New Zealand’s Policy Manager and oversees the elections.  He says standing as a councillor for a Fish & Game region is straightforward.

“People keen on becoming a councillor should make a note now of when nominations open on Monday, August 13. 

“They close on Thursday, August 30, so there are nearly three weeks in which to put your name forward,” Mr Sowman says.

“The key thing is to make sure you’re eligible to stand by being a whole season adult licenceholder.  It doesn’t matter if it is a fishing or hunting licence, as long as it’s current.”

Robert Sowman says when buying your  licence, you  should also make sure to tick the box which registers you as a voter.  But if you forget, all is not lost.

“If you miss the option to register as a voter when buying your licence, just contact your Fish & Game regional office and ask to be put on the electoral roll. 

"This closes in September, so make sure you get in early.”

He says Fish & Game’s elections are run to a very high standard by outside experts.

“To ensure the process is independent, we contract Electionz.com to manage the whole election. 

"They call for nominations, issue voting papers, count the votes and announce the results,” Mr Sowman says.

“And to make the process as easy as possible, voters can choose between voting on line or by using the traditional method of filling out their postal vote and dropping it in the mail.”

Electionz.com’s electoral officer Warwick Lampp says they now have nearly a quarter of a century’s experience running elections.

“Over the last 22 years, we’ve successfully run more than three thousand elections – the sheer scale of that work is mind boggling as it has meant processing more than 80 million postal and on-line votes,” Mr Lampp says.

“What that experience means is that we’ll have the Fish & Game election results within two hours of the close of voting,” he adds.

Fish & Game New Zealand’s Chairman Lyndsay Lyons says Kiwi anglers and hunters are lucky to have such hands on control of their activities.

“The Fish & Game model is unique internationally – it is ‘user pays, user says’ and licenceholders need to make sure they keep it that way. 

“They can do that by standing for election for their Fish & Game councils and at the very least, they should vote to make sure the best candidates are representing their interests,” he says.

“It’s the only way we can make sure our children and grandchildren will be able to fish, hunt and enjoy the outdoors.”

Click here for more details on our ‘what you need to know' page.