As you may be aware the new WARO concessions (effective 1st July 2015) were arrived at after DOC deliberately excluded recreational hunters from the decision making process and resulted in a number of significant detrimental changes for us including removal of the 5 month summer exclusion in the Ruahines (year round WARO can now occur), the removal of the Tararua exclusion in the Waiohine catchment, Tauherenikau river, Totara Crk, Lower Atiwhakatu catchment and the virtual complete opening of the Rimutaka Forest Park along with a number of reserves in the Wairarapa including Tora bush. The principal seems to have been that everything should be open to heli’s. Around 30 to 40% of the public land in the local Conservancy has been changed all with NO consultation with rec hunters. Other areas nationally are also adversely affected.
However thanks to the lobbying efforts of hunters including many of the 2300 who have hunting permits for the Ruahines, there appeared to be some movement and at the NZDA conference opening evening (Friday 26th June) Mike Slater, the No2 for DOC, announced a review of WARO noting issues with the Ruahines outcome.. He clarified then that all changed areas would be reviewed within a few weeks.
It only took a few days for the reneging to start (as per my recent email to members) and since then DOC have clarified the so called review further: “the review of decisions around areas will be in two parts, Ruahines immediately. Others as part of a second process involving the wider sector that they are also starting soon.”
We have still not received a clarification around the variance to what all present heard Mike say and to the matter of the Ruahine changes not being around area but instead around timing.
Our Liaison groups view is that we are not willing to allow them to bed in changes (for which no justification was given) on the rest of the conservancy in return for the possibility of some hope on just the Ruahines. Everything other than a return to the 2009-15 status quo is a loss and we were denied the ability to advocate for improvements as we had intended.
Whilst the current uneconomic feral venison price limits the harm from the changes (other than in the Ruahines where the operator has his own meat plant and market) the price will rise and the changes now allow the use of chiller trucks at Park roadends, effectively a forward operating base which would then greatly improve the economics of targeting areas like the Rimutaka open country.
So if you think the issue doesn’t affect you then consider what happens to your favourite possie, even if seemingly safe from WARO when those hunters who hunt the open country decide it’s not worth the heli grief and go elsewhere instead – maybe to your possie ? Either directly or indirectly every hunter is adversely affected by the WARO changes. As always our biggest enemy is not some government agency or the WARO guys it is instead our own apathy and the “I’m alright Jack” attitude.
If we are to be treated with respect then we need to act with greater unity and each of us must help out – to help ourselves we must all become involved.
Through the efforts of those who have written, emailed, met with MP’s and spread the word, we have got the attention of DOC, we need to keep going and increase those efforts until we get a fair go because that is not yet happening. Imagine what we could achieve if instead of many dozens asking questions and raising issues we had many hundreds or many thousands ?
Stand up for your hunting and let DOC and the ministers know about your concerns, a lot is at stake and not just in the Ruahines.
Chair of the Lower North Island Hunter Liaison group, also Secretary for Hutt valley NZDA