New Fish & Game Councils Warned They Face Big Challenges
New Fish & Game councillors are being told they face big challenges representing their fellow anglers, game bird hunters and the environment after their success was announced in the results of the national Fish & Game elections.
The elections are held every three years, with each of the 12 Fish & Game regions selecting up to 12 councillors. Internet and postal voting began in mid-September and closed Friday October 9 and results have been published today.
In many regions, new councillors will be taking their place at their region’s council tables and Fish & Game New Zealand Chief Executive Bryce Johnson says they will be tackling significant issues in the coming three year term.
“I congratulate all those anglers and gamebird hunters who’ve had the courage and commitment to stand up and be counted in these elections,” Mr Johnson says.
“This is the unique strength of Fish & Game’s ‘user pays, user says’ model. The individual angler and hunter gets a say in how the pursuits they enjoy are governed,” he says.
But Bryce Johnson is reminding councillors that their new jobs are bigger than just deciding how many trout can be caught and where.
“While councillors often stand for a particular issue dear to their heart, the big challenge facing New Zealand is the threat to the environment. Anglers and game bird hunters know this well – they see the steady decline of water quality and abuse of rivers and streams first hand, and want better protection for our outdoors, including access for recreation.
“Fish & Game is one of this country’s leading environmental organisations. It does the hard yards when it comes to protecting the environment to ensure that every New Zealander can swim, drink and gather food from our lakes, rivers and streams.
“Fish & Game councils throughout the country play an important role in making sure development, ignorance and exploitation doesn’t destroy what we hold dear,” he says.
Mr Johnson warns that access to the outdoors is also shaping up as a significant issue.
“Increasingly, access to the outdoors is being restricted or blocked by landowners and vested interests. This slow erosion of New Zealanders’ traditional rights is insidious and must be challenged,” he says.
The new Fish & Game councillors take office later this month on October 28.