Fishing and Shooting Public Overwhelmingly Opposed to Government Interference

The trout fishing and duck shooting public are overwhelmingly opposed to a proposal to inject Government appointees into Fish and Game. That is the interim result from an on-going survey by the New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers (NZFFA) of the anglers’ and hunters’ opinion of the governance review conducted by the Department of Conservation.

The NZFFA’s survey facilitator, Andi Cockroft, said the survey was still underway but analysis by an independent statistician to review responses, showed an overwhelming opposition to government appointees and involvement.

“One could liken this to the State demanding puppet appointees on the Rugby Union or Cricket Council. It is virtually a total anathema to the outdoors public,” he said.

Of those who made invited comments, ninety five percent of the respondents are strongly opposed to the recommendation that Government appointees sit on Fish & Game Councils.

 The Acting Minister of Conservation, Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall, has accepted, in full, the thirty six recommendations from the Fish & Game Governance Review written by John Mills and Belinda Clarke and has asked Fish & Game New Zealand Council to implement those which do not require legislative change and is seeking guidance on amendments to the Conservation Act to enact the rest.

But  Cockroft warned that this was very premature.

Not Consulted

‘“Fish & Game licence holders have not been asked for their views on the recommendations. There is a glaring need to consult with the fishing and shooting public.

The NZFFA has written to the chairman of a DOC implementation committee, Rainsford Grubb, requesting the public be consulted and looks forward to working with him to this end.

“Is DOC paying former Fish & Game National Chairman Grubb as chairman and a member of the four person Implementation Steering Group, tasked with enacting the recommendations from the Review?” asked Cockroft.  “Thus, it is naturally his priority to push through these changes” said Cockroft.

Cockroft said some of the respondents to the survey did concede Fish & Game needed improvement and consequently agreed with a number of review recommendations such as electing national councillors direct from each region’s licence holder ranks and regional funding issues.
“But the few calling for improvement were from one or two regions where there were or had been issues around conflicts of interest of some councillors,” he said. “Certainly the vast majority of survey respondents felt that it is DOC that needs improvement and that DOC were the least qualified to interfere in Fish & Games’ business given that they have been entirely absent in freshwater protection and advocacy for over a decade.”
The Federation is still receiving responses to the on-going survey and will continue to analyse them towards completion.

Cockroft said Mr Grubb had talked to around 150 regional Fish & Game Councillors.

“But, the NZFFA wants all the 150,000 Fish & Game licence holders to be consulted – not just 150,” he added.


Contact: Andi Cockroft 027 204 1878
<c> Average trout angler has not been consulted

, Fishing and Shooting Public Overwhelmingly Opposed to Government Interference

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28 Responses to Fishing and Shooting Public Overwhelmingly Opposed to Government Interference

  1. colin rose says:

    think they need to consult all of us that hold licenses and use the outdoors before they just change things

  2. Graeme Nahkies says:

    The government should just laugh at this survey. Many of the comments are laughable. The comparison with rugby and cricket for example reveals the general sense of ignorance within the angling community about F&G. Both rugby and cricket are incorporated societies (private member controlled organisations). F&G is quite different-a statutory organisation which is formally part of the wider public sector. The Minister already has significant powers in relation to the financial viability and operational activity of the organisation.

    F&G’s much vaunted independence is a myth. Another myth is that it is a democratic organisation. It is governed by a group that is not elected but appointed (by the regions). Elected members of regional F&G councils are voted in by a few hundred of our 100k plus licence holders. Few of them have the experience and even less the appetite for governing the organisation. As a result the future of F&G is in the hands of a small group of managers who have every interest in maintaining the status quo which features high (arguably excessive) salaries and low levels of accountability.

    Failure to implement the Review recommendations will invite Government intervention in a form that could be far less acceptable to angler and hunters – even those who take the time to understand the realities of the organisation’s status and situation.

    • andic says:

      Well Graeme, you appear to be in a very insignificant minority. Most licence holders seem pretty pissed-off with F&G, the Review Process and any suggestion of Governmental interference.
      The NZFFA will hold its AGM next weekend, where the results of the survey will be reviewed. The decision on where-to from there will be taken then.

    • Jim Jefferies says:

      Graeme Nahkies – your comments are on the money. The survey comments really are laughable and getting the review recommendations actioned quickly and thoroughly is important now.

      There’s no suggestion of government interference, just support with the F&G Review, involvement in helping the sector to recruit capable people to assist keen anglers and shooters. The contacted reviewers got around many of the key people and are highly credible. Sledging them is poor form. Sledging F&G is the main pastime of this increasingly irrelevant ginger group (NZFF Ass’n), proven by this year’s successful legal threats and apologies.

      The NZFF Ass’n was not consulted by the Reviewers, because it doesn’t represent New Zealand anglers. It’s a ginger group that is frankly driven by a few old ranting males. It doesn’t have many members (hardly any paid up) and doesn’t even have the support of many of the NZ fishing clubs.

      It’s time for those left at the NZFF Ass’n to reset their goals and work to earn the right to represent the local fishing community, by supporting NZF&G – not attacking their every move.

    • Dr. Charlie Baycroft says:

      What I take from your comments is that more fishing and hunting people ought to become more interested and involved in the activities of Fish and Game.

      It is actually not that much different from the government political party system in which there are only about 50,000 party members in total and a small percentage have all the influence in relation to decisions, policies, candidate selection, etc.

      There are probably plenty of people with conflicts of interest there as well.

      DOC and the people in control of the current government are committed to the eradication of the fish and game as part of the foolish Predator Free Scam.

      Fish and Game is intended to conserve and protect the species that DOC wants to eradicate.

      There is no way that people with such conflicting interests can co-operate successfully.

      The people in this government deal in false promises and lies.

      They called the confiscation of people’s legally owned personal property a “buyback” and this “modernization” of Fish and Game is a TAKEOVER.

      The agenda is obviously to place the control and revenue related to hunting and fishing with DOC to the detriment of the people who choose to hunt and fish.

      Perhaps Fish and Game’s time is up because it does not have the necessary independance and support to stand up to the people in the current government.

      The question is, why do we pay for the privilege of hunting and fishing for “pests” that the government wishes to eradicate in the 1st place?

      It would seem more realistic and logical for us to stop paying for assisting the government to achieve it’s “predator free” agenda by acting as voluntary pest control operators.

      Maybe Fish and Game has had it’s day and needs to be reorganized and reformed by the people that pay for it through license fees and NOT the incompetent fools in our government bureaucracies.

      Will we be happy to pay future license fees to support the employees of Fish and Game after they allow the government to take over?

      I don’t think so.

  3. Joe McIntosh says:

    Graham Nahkies is right in just one respect although he doesn’t spell it out. Apathy by the majority is the weakness.
    But isn’t it also the weakness of elected governments where a million Kiwis cannot be bothered voting? Local councils?
    Yet we do retain the democratic system of 3 yearly general elections.
    So the democratic structure of Fish and Game must remain without State puppet appointments. Graham should look at the National government down here in Canterbury, replacing on ECan, elected councillors with puppet commissioners.
    What a disaster that was for aquifers (drinking water/ nitrate-cancer link) and environment for native fish, trout and young salmon parr).
    What a win for corporate dairying.
    I agree the political independence of Fish and Game is partly a myth because it was eroded with the transition from acclimatisation societies o fish and game councils by an Act of Parliament. The Act made fish and game obliged to the minister of conservation or in other words because “Yes Minister” is active, to the Department of Conservation.
    Why did acclimatisation societies and their CEO agree to allowing Fish and Game to become subservient to a bureaucratic department??
    DOC is a blundering, incompetent department unable to live up to its statutory responsibility of looking after native fish and their habitat, of protecting native birds (e.g. decline of native kingfishers and migratory cuckoo, kea etc)
    So Mr Nahkies would be happy to have those bureaucrats on the public’s fish and game councils, and with voting rights?
    C’mon get real!

  4. Larry Burke says:

    While some of the recommendations are a step in the right direction IE; having the number of regions. Addressing the funding, though they did not go far enough with this. I have 2 major concerns . 1 anglers and hunters were not consulted only councilors and the national council . there were a lot of submissions but they appear to have been past over . No angling club or association as far as I know was consulted. 2 Is the paid appointees. Who is going to pay them? if their payment is to come from licence fees then there would need to be a hefty hike in licence fees and a lot less funds to look after the fisheries and habitat. I personally think the minister needs to consult anglers. there should not be any changes made until after the election for councilors this year as there is not enough time to set things in place in manner that can be widely consulted on. I also don’t think the chairman of the national council should be paid as that opens the position up for possible political manipulation.

    • Stephen Murphy says:

      I have made some enquiries and even a national advocacy like the NZ Federation Freshwater Anglers were not consulted. I noted the organisations the two person review panel talked to. Federated Farmers were interviewed.
      Who were the two panellists? Did they fish or shoot? Did they have any empathy with the outdoor sports? Do they understand the aspirations and ethos? It is all very suspect.

  5. Predator Pete says:

    The F&G Review failed to clarify the causes of the major points of contention within F&G;
    1. Whether the National Council is the servant of the Regions or vice versa.
    2. The disputed distribution of license fees among the regions
    3. Why there has been governance issues within F&G at both National and Regional level.

    Adding DoC appointees to the mix may not be helpful given DoC’s poor record regarding governance and decision making of its own – Cave Creek, compromising the safety of the Pike River mine (single entry/exit to minimize the mines environmental footprint), confusing ecocide with conservation (1080), the simplistic and scientifically suspect whitebait regulations, etc.
    Stacking the National and Regional Councils with Ministerial appointees is simply evidence of a Government takeover of F&G.
    The failure to consult with license holders is appalling.
    A review imposed by a Minister, conducted by two people appointed by the Minister, with the Chair of the National Council of F&G embargoing discussion until he was hired to implement the Review (in full), followed by a “road show” around the regions implying no further debate of input from license holders will take place is unacceptable.
    If the Review was indeed conducted on behalf of license holders, then it should be up to license holders to decide what (if any) of the recommendations of the Review should be implemented.

  6. Grant Henderson says:

    Economist Brian Easton comments on “redisorganisation” of the health system on the Pundit NZ website ( The same process is being applied to Fish & Game – change for change’s sake, increased government control and the restriction of an independent voice for the environment.

    We have seen it all before.

  7. Charles Henry says:

    “We trained hard—but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we were reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while actually producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.”
    ― Gaius Petronius Arbiter, 66AD

    NZFFA - New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers

    • Dave Rhodes says:

      “The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”
      Marcus Tullius Cicero 55BC

      NZFFA - New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers

      • Dr. Charlie Baycroft says:

        Why do we seem destined to make the same mistakes again and again?
        Those who think “this time it will be different” are inevitably mistaken.

  8. "Chinook" says:

    Jim Jeffries appears to be averse to democracy. He choses to rail against the majority opinion i.e. the majority who do not support government appointments.
    I remember when I attended a NZFFA., annual meeting, quite a few years ago, the original constitution clearly stated the Federation fully supported the democratic structure of the Acclimatisation Society organisation, now called Fish and Game.
    Government appointments will weaken the democratic structure where all councillors are democratically elected by the trout fishing and duck shooting licence holder public.
    It is clearly apparent, the NZFFA is fighting to protect the Fish and Game and not have it neutered by government interference. Jim please pause and think of the ECan situation where government put in puppet commissioners, a parallel to the current situation with the Fish and Game review.

  9. John dewit says:

    Well said Graeme, the biggest failing of fish and game is the self serving individuals the regional managers, never provided a steer of what was expected in the woolaston speech to the interim nzfg, it should. Of been the on the g front pages of governance manual, managers on 160 k, with 5 staff, that is ott compared to police Sargent, ward chargecharge.nurse, etc, and then they will use any bureaucratic stunt to suppress any dissent, we need strong governance to hold them to account, so NZFFA

    let Ray gubb speak this weekend because the govt plan b will mean commissioners, and the status quo has gone,
    A classic example is a license holder raised their voice at a incompetent administrator at a fish game office, they have been tresspassed, for 2 yrsl, so much for the Bill of Rights, freedom of expression, these managers need to answerable, so a letter to the human Rights commission will mean lawyers and more money away.from
    rivers, were the councilors of this council informed or ask about the nzbor 1990, this is why competent governance is needef

    • "Hare's Ear" says:

      Sorry John. I couldn’t quite figure your thoughts.
      Is Grubb speaking this weekend you say? I think he needs to speak and listen to the 160,000 or so duck shooters and trout/salmon anglers and I repeat listen.
      But I fear he will speak to only fish and game councillors who number perhaps just over 140? Twelve regions by twelve councillors per region?
      By nature, I doubt if he will listen.
      I hear most of the fish and game council are opposed to government appointments on councils and the impractical amalgamations.

  10. Ray Grubb says:

    I offered to attend the NZFFA AGM to improve relationships, listen and be informed, but my offer was rejected.
    Several of your comments asked if I was speaking and that is the reason i did not.
    It is a bit difficult to interact with NZFFA readers and members when that happens.
    My offer to attend is still and always open.
    However I have read all the comments on the Review on your site and have found the range of views fascinating. Thanks to all of you.
    The Reviewers who wrote the Review Report consulted very widely and found the same variety of opinion as I have. The Review Report is their best effort at summarising them.
    The key issue here, and my job in representing licence holders, is to preserve the independence of Fish and Game.
    We are right now doing wide consultation to see how that is best done using the Review as a base
    The overall direction of the Review is to improve Fish and Game’s Governance and performance. Basically better value for our licence fees, yours and mine, because I’m a really keen angler as many of you know.
    So the Review doesn’t change what we do but does change how we do it
    Leaving aside the Review for a moment it is clear that we, your elected reps at Fish and Game do not adequately communicate the work that is done to protect habitat, both freshwater and wetlands, and access to our sport, and protect licence holders interests.
    I do wonder if the NZFFA could occasionally do a summary of what local Fish and Game Councils and the national Council are doing. For my part I am always willing to answer questions and communicate with you

    • andic says:

      Hi Ray.
      When you say “I offered to attend the NZFFA AGM to improve relationships, listen and be informed, but my offer was rejected. Several of your comments asked if I was speaking and that is the reason i did not. It is a bit difficult to interact with NZFFA readers and members when that happens. My offer to attend is still and always open., is being a tad economical with the truth I fear.
      Your offer to attend was considered quite seriously, but we already had an extremely full agenda, and we were to be discussing our survey, how to respond to it and how that would affect our inter-relationship with F&G.
      As such, it was felt your attendance would be entirely inappropriate – inviting someone to an AGM just so we can talk about them!
      What we did do is write back thanking you for your offer, and suggesting we meet with you on another occasion – as far as I am aware you have failed to respond to that request.

  11. Ray Grubb says:

    Thanks Andi
    I did respond. My email of 7 June follows
    Good morning
    I delayed replying as i was unsure of my availability to meet with the NZFFA, which we can either do by Zoom or in person. I prefer the latter.
    Your AGM is on the 19th. I am free from then until the 26th and am in Australia from then until the 13th july. 5-13 July I will be available to do a zoom meeting but would prefer to wait until I get back
    Over to you
    (Signed) Ray Grubb
    Bringing us up to date I’m still happy to meet and also write a factual article for your Newsletter on the Ministerial Review. Again over to you
    Comments on the Review welcomed to

  12. David Haynes says:

    Hi Ray
    The big question, and one you did not answer when I wrote to you is “are you going to go out and survey F&G licence holders on what they think of the review recommendations?”

  13. Ray Grubb says:

    I am closing this thread. The reasons;
    – Despite my repeated offers NZFFA has not been prepared to hear or engage with me. I am therefore not able to represent nor protect the interests of Fish and Game’s licence holders as is my job.
    – NZFFA has allowed a political party to use the NZFFA forum for its own ends rather than in the interests of the anglers and gamebird hunters
    – There has been further thinly veiled and occasionally blatant attacks on individuals.
    This is not something I wish to be part of

    • andic says:

      Sorry Ray, but not your call to close this thread!!!! That’s for the NZFFA.

      But what’s this about repeated offers?

      Even in your own comment above, and in your email to our chairman of 7th June, you stated “Your AGM is on the 19th. I am free from then until the 26th and am in Australia from then until the 13th july. 5-13 July I will be available to do a zoom meeting but would prefer to wait until I get back”.

      So according to your own e-mail you are unavailable to meet until 5th July, and then only via Zoom.

      You go on to say you are not back till 13th July, which would be both your and our preference for a face-to-face meeting.

      Some inconsistencies here I’m afraid Ray.

      As for allowing a political party to use the NZFFA forum to its own ends, we pride ourselves on publishing all content that meets our community standards. We do not censor anything else, and would happily post articles from other sources. I suspect the article you refer to was actually written by a founder F&G Councillor and former member of the precursor acclimatisation societies.

      Andi Cockroft, Site Admin & Executive Member

    • Tony Orman says:

      Well Ray I’ve followed this with much interest, having always endeavoured over the decades to advocate for guarding the public ownership of the fish and game resources.
      This has put me on a collision course with some Fish and Game individuals such as the former F&G CEO and some with a vested interest in guiding, over pheasant preserves which so clearly contravene Sec 23 Wildlife Act prohibiting selling of shooting rights.
      I note Geoffrey Palmer recently endorsed my contention re preserves and Sec 23. Notably DOC s ‘overseers’ of Fish and Game by law did not pick up on that legality. Frankly slack!
      The point is that fish and game public ownership is vital otherwise you slide into the feudal system where only the wealthy ‘upper class’ can pay the fees for the best of fishing and hunting.
      You must keep that upper mind.
      You and I go back a long way (1980s) when you were at Brunner Lodge.
      Frankly I’ve been very disappointed in your recent involvement and utterances.
      I expected better.
      Let me correct you re NZFFA. As Andi has indicated, NZFFA allows freedom of speech. It does not suppress opinions. if the Outdoor Party make a statement relevant to the subject, its views are printed just as the views of National, ACT, Greens or which-ever party would be aired.
      It is nonsense as you say, that NZFFA allowed the Outdoor Party “to use the NZFFA forum for its own ends rather than in the interests of the anglers and game bird hunters.” Any political party, indeed anyone, can comment. If the Methodist church commented, its views would be posted!
      Of course government would love to get control of fish and game and the proposal by the review duo to give government appointees the majority vote is absolutely repugnant and an erosion of that public ownership of fish and game – so vital, as I mentioned earlier.
      When you accuse NZFFA of ignoring “the interests of the anglers and game bird hunters” , how about, instead of just “consulting” with regional F&G councils, (140 individuals?) you carry out a meaningful and proper consultation with the 150,000 licence holders?
      As a former public service bureaucrat, I would have thought you’d be alert to the strategies and thinking of departmental bureaucrats such as in DOC, a department which is often criticised by the taxpaying public.
      Allowing government to get a controlling foothold in Fish and Game would neuter the organisation and render it impotent as far as government plans for exploitation of rivers and the environment (fish and game habitat) go.
      Please use your experience and background to think.

  14. David Haynes says:

    Hi Ray
    Third time lucky…are you going to go out and survey F&G licence holders on what they think of the review recommendations?

  15. sandy bull says:

    Andi and David have asked Ray when he is going to consult with the people who pay all the costs of administering and managing F @ G. The License Holder .
    N Z F F A have conducted an ongoing survey of these sportsmen and women .
    The results to date show very clearly that apart from a few dissidents the license
    holder does not support Government appointments on F @ G Councils or what appears to be some very impractical amalgamations.
    I ask the same answer to the question asked by David, Andi, and those (150,000
    approx.) who wait for some honest answers. Sandy.

  16. Dr. Charlie Baycroft says:

    Of course DOC would like control of Fish and Game.
    The culture within this government “enterprise” is very clearly based on a belief that they OWN, control and manage the public land.
    We all contribute to this delusion when we accept the common usage of the term “DOC LAND”.
    In reality it is our land and the people in this Department of Conservation are EMPLOYED BY US TO SERVE US.

    Fish and Game is NOT a government agency. It is owned and funded by the purchasers of fishing and hunting licenses to serve them. This also seems to have been forgotten or perhaps just overcome by clever government propaganda and “marketing spin”.

    The main reason that Fish and Game must remain independent of government control (especially involving the bureaucrats in the DOC) is that there is an irreconcilable conflict of interest within these two entities.

    The government and DOC “predator free 2050” culture and agenda is to eradicate the introduced species that Fish and Game is responsible for preserving and protecting for the benefit of its members.

    One cannot have a government enterprise that wants to eradicate the Fish and Game influencing the decisions and activities of an organization that exists to preserve and protect the Fish and Game.

    The existence of Fish and Game conflicts with and is an impediment to the agendas of DOC and that is why the bureaucrats and politicians are seeking to take it over.

    The other significant of DOC and other government “enterprises” is REVENUE.

    The take over of Fish and Game will enable DOC to have control of the revenue that is collected for permission to hunt and fish.

    Those people who have logically evaluated government policies and actions for the past couple of decades will realize that the main agenda is the generation of more and more control and revenue through permits, licenses, concession, fees, fines and other charges.

    The management of DOC regard their enterprise as a business that OWN THE PUBLIC LAND and their ambition is to have more control and generate more revenue by charging people for access to and use of the resources.

    It is also fair and accurate to realize that the Fish and Game related to the activities and responsibilities of FISH AND GAME are not indigenous or subject to “Treaty Issues”. These specific species were not here or even anticipated to be here when the Treaty of Waitangi was created and agreed to.

    If one has been involved with and understands the influential people and culture within our main political parties it will be quite obvious that there is a strong disrespect and prejudice toward people in the hunting and fishing community.

    This prejudicial culture has resulted in increasingly discriminatory legislation that victimizes those perpetuate the heritage and culture of hunting and gathering as a lifestyle.
    People that hunt and fish might not be fully conscious of this prejudice and discrimination because it has been introduced and promoted gradually, stealthily and by the use of effective propaganda.

    When people or groups of people are made to feel that they must “justify” they personal choices and preferred activities they ought to understand that they are victims of prejudice and discrimination.

    Apologizing to and submitting to those who are prejudiced and discriminating DOES NOT WORK because it only reinforces the delusion those who are prejudiced and encourages them to carry on.

    Unfortunately, many of the influential people in our political parties are moralistic busybodies who feel somehow entitled to force their own views, beliefs and prejudices on everyone else.

    These are the most dangerous people of all because they are never satisfied with the amount of authority and control that they have achieved.

    Perhaps we should learn from the other “communities” who have been victimized by prejudice and discrimination and stop “bending the knee”?

  17. Larry Burke says:

    One thing that is not mentioned in these4 comments is how much economic activity trout salmon fishing creates . At best it is around $1.5billion a year that in itself is why F&G will not disappear , the government is well aware of that and with 1,240,000 annual freshwater fishing days that is another. this has an effect on the smaller towns on the main fishing rivers. An example salmon fishing on the Waimakariri according to the last fresh water angling survey (2016) had 34,000 salmon angler days that in itself brings between $1-2 million dollars into the Kaiapoi town and surrounding area. The other is that according to conservation act the government owns salmon and trout. To this you also need to add the economic activity that the hunting side brings as well. Think t6hat the idea of paid councillors is not a good one as it has the prospect of increasing licence fees as to make it impossible for a lot of current anglers and further ones to buy a licence. and will lead to a deterioration of the environmental and other river, wet land and lake weork F&G do.

  18. phil watts says:

    please put the flipping date of the post first in the title to make filing and searching logical. why does no one have any unkommen sense?

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