Q&A on the implementation of the Ministerial Review of Fish & Game

  • 11/06/2021
  • Richie Cosgrove

Below are some commonly asked questions and their answers about the implementation of the Ministerial Review of Fish & Game.

Where can I get a copy of the full Ministerial review of Fish & Game?

Click here to download a copy of the review.

What are the 36 recommendations?

Click here to download all 36 recommendations.

What did the Minister of Conservation say about the review?

Click here to download the Minister's media statement when the review was released to the public.

I want to have my say on the implementation of the review, how do I do that?

Anglers and hunters can send in their views on the implementation of the Ministerial Review by clicking here and sending us an email.

The review is a power grab by DOC to takeover Fish & Game: 

Not true; the Minister of Conservation has charged Fish & Game with implementing the recommendations of the review, not DOC. It will be Fish & Game that shapes the new culture of Fish & Game. If DOC was trying to takeover Fish & Game, then DOC would be undertaking the implementation of the review, not Fish & Game. 

The recommendations are proposals: 

And Fish and Game will advise the Minister how they are best implemented after all the Regional Councillors and staff have been asked for their advice.  That is happening now with the Implementation team visiting all the Regions and seeking staff and Councillor advice  

The Fish & Game voice will be diluted by having fewer councillors:  

Whilst there are fewer councillors elected, the ability to make appointments to the councils means a wider and more diverse body of anglers and hunters can be appointed. All councillors will continue to be charged with representing the interests of anglers and hunters.  

Anglers and hunters won’t have much of a say:   

The new voting system means many more anglers and hunters will be able to vote in elections.  Only 8% vote now and that will dramatically increase with the proposed changes.  This is a long-overdue improvement in licence holder participation.  

The appointees won’t know anything about Fish & Game:  

The ability to appoint people to council gives Fish & Game the ability to appoint people who could be technical specialists in a particular field and bring in their expertise to benefit the organisation. 

The appointees will change the culture of Fish & Game:  

Fish & Game will still be a reflection of its licence holders. Currently, only a small portion of our licence holders are being reflected in the governors of the organisation. Changes to the voting system to enable more licence holders to be eligible to vote and the ability to appoint councillors will enable more voices to be heard. 

The review was rushed and too quick:  

The reviewers spent several months travelling the length of the country talking to all Fish & Game councillors and staff and consulting other interest groups before compiling their report and presenting it to the Minister.  The consultation was comprehensive.  

How long will this all take?  

Some changes will occur quickly, as necessitated by the statutory obligation to hold Fish & Game elections this year. Other changes may take three to five years to fully implement.  

The reviewers did not consult wide enough:  

The reviewers spent several months travelling the length of the country talking to all F&G councillors and staff and consulting other interest groups widely before compiling their report and presenting it to the Minister. Many licence holders and the wider public made submissions on a web portal as well.  Consultation could not have been more comprehensive.  

The Minister can sack councillors on a whim:  

Not true, for a start the principles of natural justice applyUnder the status quo, there has not been the apparatus for either a Council or the Minister to remove a councillor who has failed to meet the standards expected by the public they represent. This facility only brings Fish and Game into line with most public bodies.  

The implemented review will mean the end of Fish & Game as an advocate for freshwater:  

The Review does not change any of the statutory functions that make Fish and Game NZ’s most effective freshwater advocate.  This means business as usual but with more effective governance. It will ultimately strengthen Fish and Game’s ability to advocate for freshwater.  

There will be less Fish & Game staff out there stopping poaching/doing habitat work/representing Anglers & Hunters viewpoints etc:  

The amalgamated regions will not lose any field staff, and the implemented review offers the chance to put more “boots on the ground” in the places that they are required. A complimentary resource allocation project was undertaken at the same time as the review to highlight any issues with where we currently have people.  

The amalgamated regions are too big:  

In 1990 24 Acclimatisation regions became 12 Fish and Game Region.  The same is happening now.  This is modernising Fish and Game in line with modern communications and future-proofing it to make better use of its resources.  

Where do I go if I need to talk to a Fish & Game Officer? 

The Fish & Game offices will be staying where there are, that said many staff are often out in the field and contacting them by phone is often the best method. You can get their contact details from the Fish & Game website.  

Bigger regions mean less Fish & Game voice on local issues:  

Not true, no field staff are being lost. The ability for Fish & Game to go into bat for a local issue will improve due to increased cohesiveness and the amalgamations minimise the ability for regional councils to divide and conquer Fish & Game where current Fish and Game boundaries cross over regional council boundaries.  

Anglers and hunters won’t be able to attend many Fish & Game council meetings because they have to travel further:  

Many Fish & Game councils currently move their meetings around their regions to enable more angler and hunter participation. Modern technology also allows Fish & Game to live stream meetings which will enable more participation by licence holders.  

What happens to all the gifted assets/trusts of the old Fish & Game Councils?  

Over time these will be transferred to the new amalgamated region for administration. The new regions will have to abide by any existing conditions on gifted assets. This is so they can faithfully carry out the wishes of the people that originally gifted these assets to Fish & Game for the betterment of future anglers and hunters. 



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