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Backing For Call To Lift Duck Hunters Ban

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 19 NZPA - Fish and Game wants an iwi's duck shooting ban on Wellington's Pencarrow lakes lifted while an environmental impact study is done.

An iwi has told the Government it wants to block duck shooters from the lakes because some have been acting irresponsibly and they fear the spread of the noxious weed didymo to the area.

The Port Nicholson treaty settlement last year gave Taranaki iwi control of the lakes, near Eastbourne to the east of Wellington, with public access guaranteed.

But duck shooter John Martin received a letter two weeks ago telling him and his mates the shooting season at the lakes starting May 1 was over because it was against the protection and preservation practices of the iwi.

United Future leader Peter Dunne said the shooters disputed the iwi's claim and there should be a thorough review.

"I find the claim that there is a risk from didymo quite bizarre, the conditions that didymo requires to spread and survive just do not exist in the Pencarrow lakes," Mr Dunne said.

"Such an argument if carried to its extreme would preclude the whole of the North Island from any freshwater recreational activities."

Mr Dunne said the duck shooting should be allowed to go ahead this season, while an investigation into the environmental impact of duck shooting was carried out.

Fish and Game Council chief executive Bryce Johnson said hunting on the lakes had taken place for 80 years with no adverse environmental effects and he backed Mr Dunne's call for a study.

"Hunting on the lakes over eight weeks or 16 days in a year, Mr Dunne's suggestion is a sensible, fair and will result in a robust solution."

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said yesterday he was looking very closely at the situation.

"I was concerned by initial reports that the trust may have purported to act outside the terms of the Treaty settlement with Taranaki Whanui. The iwi, as landowner, has the right to exclude recreational activities only if there is a risk of a significant adverse effect to the environment," Mr Finlayson said.

"The iwi believes, for a number of reasons, that such a risk is posed by didymo, and also by the irresponsible actions of some hunters."

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