A popular farming publication wants farmers to lock out
fishers and hunters over what it calls an anti-dairying
attitude by their governing body.
The editorial in the latest edition of Rural News was a blunt
message to Fish and Game New Zealand - namely in answer to a
recent independent survey the organisation commissioned.
The survey found that most respondents believed dairy farming
had worsened the quality of fresh waterways, and that
intensive dairying had gone too far.
Rural News, which has a readership of 175,000, said it was
clear that the fishers' and hunters' governing body had "no
respect or regard for the dairy farming sector, and therefore
do not want to be associated with the farming sector -
including hunting and fishing on their land".
Fish and Game issues around 150,000 hunting and fishing
licences each year.
Farmers should "keep the gates locked" to all hunters and
fishers until they could "convince their governing body to
drop its adversarial approach to the farming sector and play
a more constructive role in working hand-in-hand with the
But Fish and Game chief executive Bryce Johnson said Rural
News was "bashing the messenger, rather than trying to
contemplate the message.
"All such an action would achieve is alienate urban anglers
and hunters who, let's face it, are probably the most
numerous members of urban New Zealand who interface with
farmers and hence become rural New Zealand's best ambassadors
back into the urban population."
Other reports, including one by the Parliamentary
Commissioner for the Environment last year, had highlighted
similar concerns with farming when it came to fresh
waterways, Mr Johnson said.
Rural News editor David Anderson said most feedback had been
pretty supportive but some people had complained.
Federation of Freshwater Anglers president David Haynes said
such a combative editorial could only seek to fuel a division
between farmers and fishers.
Mr Haynes said there was no argument that intensive
agriculture, such as dairy, had a substantial environmental
"It's all about mitigation and some farmers are better at
this than others."
Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills said he was not
particularly happy with Fish and Game, which he said seemed
locked in a negative view of primary industries that farmers
perhaps deserved quite a few years ago.
Dairy New Zealand chief executive Tim Mackle said his
organisation acknowledged the newspaper's frustration, but
could not back its call for a ban.
- Jamie Morton of the NZ Herald