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The silent majority fishers - from Bill Ross


Government must realise that there are two distinct types of people who fish for recreation.

There are anglers who would in the main represent a minority because they join clubs and view their recreational pursuit as a sport and not a hobby.

The other group are the silent majority who perhaps fish many times a year or even just a couple of times. They do not view their activity as a sport, they do not fish competitions and they do not need to join a club.

THIS latter group charges the elected governemnt to protect their rights to fisheries access. They expect the government and the Ministry to look after them. They have no idea that any government would condone a users pay philosophy which would restrict their right to go out for a fish. I have no doubt that to charge the recreational fisherperson would be the thin end of a wedge. New Zealanders are already subject to charges for climbing mountains and for access to certain areas generally under the control of a minority and seldom Pakeha.

In no way do I have a problem with the "traditional take" or the rights of Maori as set in legislation but to ignore the right of non Maori New Zealanders cannot be seen as anything other than discriminatory and I would suggest, reverse racism.

The policies of successive governments have only served to alienate the Pakeha increasingly from their rights as citizens and tax payers.Any suggestion that recreational fisherpersons will have to fund or pay for their right to fish will inevitably result in a massive resistance and the taking of their case to International Human rights organisations.

Government already gathers many millions of dollars from the recreational angler with duties on equipment, taxes on fuel and GST on internal purchases. The fuel tax is onerous and unfair and would in its own go a long way to provide the necessary funding which the recreational lobby needs to stand equally against the forces of industry.

I also believe that the government is pursuing a racist agenda by disenfranchising the non Maori population and this could in itself form a challenge to the discussion document "Soundings".

In conclusion, there is ample evidence from overseas that to try and alienate the recreational fishing community from fisheries management has resulted in significant voter swings. If any government wishes to truly represent its citizens it should be aware that there are probably a million voters who fish.

I have no doubt that there will be a growing disquiet and level of disattisfaction with the electorate and it will be a simple matter to lobby the opposition on the matter.

Whilst I support Option4 I believe that it still fails to address all of the issues but in the absence of a balanced discussion in Soundings I must give it my support.

Bill Ross


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