Safety laws won't stop hunters

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NO WORRIES: Duck shooters have no cause for concern regarding the new workplace safety laws according to Fish & Game. PICTURE/FISH&GAME
NO WORRIES: Duck shooters have no cause for concern regarding the new workplace safety laws according to Fish & Game. PICTURE/FISH&GAME

Game bird hunter access to traditional hunting spots on farm dams, rivers and creeks will not be affected by the new workplace safety legislation, according to Fish & Game.

Some of the more than 40,000 hunters around the country had expressed concern that the new laws could affect access to their normal hunting spots, while some farmers and other land owners had asked if they needed to re-think the access they had previously been happy to grant.

The answer was that the new laws would 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," Fish & Game's communications manager Don Rood said.

"Both organisations recognise the value of such access, and happily, the parliamentary select committee considering the draft legislation agreed. The result is that Parliament has safeguarded access for anglers, hunters and trampers."

The decision to protect recreation was welcome, he added, as it preserved a long and treasured tradition of access to the outdoors through farms and forests, access that had long helped foster positive links between urban and rural folk.

The new Health and Safety at Work Act clarified that a farmer's responsibility for any risk on their land did not extend to recreational users, except when work was being carried out in that particular part of the farm at the time, defusing fears that recreational users would have to have detailed safety briefings from farmers and fill in paperwork every time they wanted to go on to a farm.

Fish & Game was happy to provide help to hunters and farmers wanting clarification about the new law, but the new Act did not give game bird hunters the right to roam at will over farms without permission.

"Our licence holders 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 said.

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

- Northland Age

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