Fish & Game Elections 2018 - FAQ's

Fish & Game manages freshwater fishing and game bird hunting for the country’s anglers and hunters.

It is what is known as a “statutory” organisation, set up under the Conservation Act, and reports to the Minister of Conservation.

The organisation sets the rules for sustainable fishing and game bird hunting and also fights to protect fish and wildlife habitat, especially wetlands and rivers.

It operates hatcheries and carries out research into how trout, salmon and game bird populations and their habitats are surviving.

Fish & Game is also actively involved with stream and river margin planting and wetland creation and restoration projects.

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Fish & Game is run by 12 regional councils around the country.

Each one has a maximum of 12 members elected every three years by the local licensed anglers and hunters. Once he or she is elected, the Councillor is expected to act in the best interests of the whole region and its resources, not as an advocate for a local club or interest group.

The functions of the Regional Fish and Game Councils are set out in the Conservation Act but their main role is to manage, maintain, and enhance the sports fish and game resources for hunters and anglers. The key to this is ensuring that recreational harvesting of sports fish and game birds is carried out sustainably, and their habitats protected, if not enhanced, to maintain their populations long term.

Councillors are expected to attend Council meetings which vary in number from region to region but around six to 12 meetings a year. Several regions also have committees that councillors sit on. You should check with the Regional Manager for details of the meetings scheduled.

Before each meeting Councillors are sent agendas and working papers which must be read and understood so there can be well informed debate on the items. Meetings normally take about half a day and some are held in the evenings or on Saturdays. Again you might wish to check with the Regional Manager as to whether they’re held during normal office hours or outside of these.

The purpose of the Council meetings is to set the outcomes for staff to achieve through their annual and ten-year operational work plans and activities. In other words the council has a governance role, setting objectives and developing policies to achieve those outcomes. Councillors’ roles are not to manage day to day activities of staff or become involved in operational matters.

The New Zealand Council is responsible for co-ordinating the work of the Regional Councils and to be a national advocate for all licence holders. So the Fish & Game organisation comprises the Wellington-based NZ

Council and all of the 12 Regional Councils. Each of these has an important part to play, but the Regional Councils and NZ Council must work closely together for the smooth operation of the whole organisation.

The NZ Council also has the lead role in recommending to the Minister of Conservation what fishing and hunting licence fees should be charged – after considering the views and recommendations of Regional Fish & Game Councils.

One of the Councillors from each region is appointed by that Council to be a member of the NZ Council, where they’re required to consider things from a national rather than a regional perspective.

To be eligible to stand for one of the Regional Councils you must hold a current whole season fishing or game bird licence in that region. And you can’t be a bankrupt or have any convictions for Fish & Game offences.

The papers to register as a candidate are available from the Returning Officer and your local Fish & Game Office.

Being a Fish & Game Councillor is challenging and rewarding work and it does require the commitment of time and effort to prepare for and attend Council meetings. It’s a great opportunity to put something back into sports that have provided you so much enjoyment in the outdoors over the years.

If you feel strongly about playing your part in helping protect New Zealand’s clean waters and other environmental resources it’s a way of doing this, and ensuring that a vital part of our national heritage is protected for future generations.

Simple…contact your local Fish & Game Council regional office, and they’ll be able to tell you. If you look at the homepage of our Fish & Game website (, you will see a link to show all the regions - just click on your region and go to the Contact page.

Again, apply to the local Fish & Game Council regional office – you can do this by phone, in person or by letter or email. Just remember that the electoral roll generally closes in early September,  and voting closes in early October.