24 May 2014

Minister backs hunters' council

8:52 am on 24 May 2014

The Associate Conservation Minister and UnitedFuture leader, Peter Dunne, says a new body representing hunters will help make hunting safer, boost tourism and allow better management of resources.

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The Game Animal Council, set up as part of UnitedFuture's confidence and supply agreements with the National-led Government, was holding its inaugural meeting in Wellington this weekend.

Some conservationists warn hunters' interests must not be allowed to over-ride conservation values.

Forest and Bird spokesman Kevin Hackwell fears conservation land could end up being managed in the interests of deer rather than native species.

He said hunters want to preserve game animals for hunting, while conservationists' ultimate aim is pest eradication.

However Mr Dunne said hunters' goals are not inconsistent with the Department of Conservation's overall management strategy.

He said the Department of Conservation, which opposed the council's establishment, is now working constructively with it and sees positive benefits in drawing on the council's expertise to manage game animals.