Game bird hunter access to traditional hunting spots on farm dams, rivers and creeks remains unaffected by workplace safety legislation.

Trent Lassen from Selwyn2

The game bird season is enjoyed by more than 40,000 hunters around the country but some have expressed concern that workplace safety laws could affect access to their normal hunting spots.

Farmers and landowners have also questioned if they have to re-think the access they have previously been happy to grant to their properties for recreational users.

Fish & Game has reassured both farmers and hunters that the new laws will not impact on recreational use.

“Fish & Game and Federated Farmers worked closely together to make sure that recreational access to farms wasn’t affected by the law changes.

“Both organisations recognised the value of such access and happily, the parliamentary select committee considering the draft legislation agreed,” says Don Rood, Fish & Game’s national communications manager.

“The result is that Parliament has safeguarded access for anglers, hunters and trampers,” says Mr Rood.

“The decision by MPs to protect recreation is welcome as it preserves a long and treasured tradition of access to the outdoors through farms and forests. This access has long helped foster positive links between urban and rural residents.”

Fish & Game says the close co-operation between it and Federated Farmers on the issue  dispelled a lot of the rumour and speculation which had built up over the new laws.

“The new Health and Safety at Work Act clarifies that a farmer’s responsibility for any risk on their farmland does not extend to recreational users, except when work is being carried out in that particular part of the farm at the time.

“This defuses fears that recreational users would have to get detailed safety briefings from farmers and fill in paperwork every time they wanted to go onto a farm,” he says.

Fish & Game is happy to provide help to hunters and farmers wanting clarification about the new law.

However, Fish & Game says the new law doesn’t give game bird hunters the right to roam at will over farms without permission.

“Our licenceholders should still exercise common courtesy and talk to farmers and get permission to cross their land or hunt on a farm’s dams and wetlands. And while you are talking to them, it makes sense to ask about any risks at the same time,” Mr Rood says.

“The law takes a dim view of illegal hunting and Fish & Game supports tough action against any poacher.”

The operation of a farm is covered by Section 37, Part 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and defines 

Farmers and landowners can check the website advice to farmers here which explains various situations that could occur on the farm.