Political Parties Ranked On Outdoor Recreation and Environment 

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CORANZ Rates Political Parties On Outdoors and Environment


NZ First ranks as the political party most attuned to New Zealanders love of outdoor recreation and the environment, while National ranks bottom equal with the Maori Party. That is the result of an election charter “question and answer” independent survey by the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of New Zealand (CORANZ). Seventeen questions relating to outdoor recreation and the environment were put to all parties.

Of parties currently in Parliament NZ First, on 94 out of 100, was well ahead of United Future, (76) followed by Labour (64) and then the Green Party (58).

National, ACT and Maori parties failed to respond with answers despite a reminder after closing date. Of parties not in Parliament the Outdoors Party scored 76 and Opportunities 64

CORANZ co-chairman Bill Benfield said NZ First showed a strong empathy with most issues and on big issues like a population policy showed a willingness for public debate.

Another topic which recently emerged among economists was replacing the old monetary-based GDP with a wider ranging Genuine-Progress-Indicator (GPI) embracing a fuller quality of life by measuring not just economic, but also social and environmental factors.

“NZ First welcomed debate on the two larger subjects of population and GPI which was positive whereas both Labour and National rejected them,” said Bill Benfield, CORANZ co-chairman.

The Green Party scored well in some areas but overall polled below its potential because of disagreement with charter points such as recognising deer and trout as valued wildlife and sporting species and  another, being supportive of eco-toxins.

“They unfortunately are still hung up on the anti-introduced phobia. Illogical because humans are introduced as are sheep, cattle, potatoes and petunias,” commented Bill Benfield.

Big game management (i.e. deer, chamois, tahr, wapiti etc) as practised in every other country was totally rejected by the Green Party.

However a main discussion point and a disappointment to the assessment panel was National as the major party of government and its failure to respond at all.

Another judge CORANZ co-chairman Andi Cockroft added that National were even sent a reminder after deadline. Similarly the Maori Party while at least acknowledging the reminder, also did not respond.
“It’s extremely disappointing because much of the current outdoor recreation-environment debate naturally centres around government policy since the National Party has headed government for the last nine years,” said Andi Cockroft.

Voters could draw their own conclusions he said. 

“Did National just not rank outdoor recreation and the environment highly, or did they consider the government had too much to answer for, particularly around issues like “dirty rivers”, gutting of the RMA, sea fisheries mismanagement, foreign ownership, toxic substances and more far-sighted issues looming like a population policy and discarding the monetary based GDP for a Genuine Progress Indicator embracing economic, social and environmental measurements?”

Commenting on the Maori party’s lack of response he said it would have been fitting for Maori because of their oft-stated cultural empathy with the environment. The Maori party had been part of the National-led government and had some measure of responsibility for policy and decision making around fisheries, degraded rivers, foreign ownership of high country and other issues.

Both CORANZ co-chairmen urged all New Zealanders and particularly those who enjoyed the outdoors, to vote.

“It’s imperative and it’s urgent because each three years between elections sees a slide downhill in terms of the environment and outdoor recreation.”

It has been estimated a million New Zealanders enjoy the outdoors in one form or another such as sea or freshwater fishing, hunting, shooting, tramping, 4 wheel driving, mountain biking and others sports. A Horizon survey a few years back revealed fishing had five times more participants than rugby.

“Outdoor recreation is not a small self-interested sector but the major sporting activity for Kiwis,” said Andi Cockroft.


Contacts: Bill Benfield 06 306 9926
Andi Cockroft: 0800  622 761


Footnote: (1)CORANZ Charter points presented were:-

1.  Government must value outdoor recreation as a legitimate right of all New Zealanders  -  adequate, credible, non-political, recreational representation in the decision-making of resource use and improve recreational opportunities and freedom of access for all. 

2. Support concept of “Clean, Green New Zealand” - clean rivers and lakes, no indiscriminate toxins and an efficient bio-security system to prevent undesirable imports entering NZ. 

3A meaningful, mandatory and scientifically valid National Environmental and Recreational Standard for Water and reversing the current degradation of fresh water.
4. (a)Full legal recognition sporting freshwater fish such as trout, salmon and perch are valued recreational assets, an established part of and compatible with the 21st century ecosystem, e.g. National Parks Act 

5. (b)Full legal recognition game animal species (e.g. deer, wapiti, tahr, chamois etc) are  valued recreational assets, an established part of and compatible with the 21st century ecosystem. e.g. National Parks Act.

6. Recognition of freshwater and saltwater fish, game and game animal resources as publicly owned with full, equal and proper public access to them. The principles of Section 23, Wildlife Act, that no purchase or selling of rights or access thereto to recreational fishing or hunting be allowed, shall apply to all and be clearly written into all relevant law.

7. Damming or diversions through private canals of river systems for hydro or storage be avoided in all situations and where necessary alternative storage/energy options be established. Residual river flows must be adequate for wildlife and fish and recreation such as fishing, jet boating, canoeing etc. Alternative energy options be implemented.
8. The law recognises the public’s right to catch saltwater fish and gather shellfish for sport and/or sustenance. The rights of the non-commercial sea fishing public should be paramount or at least equal to other sectors and written clearly into law and clearly implemented in all fisheries management decisions. Sea fisheries management and implementation of policies must be based on the principle of “more fish in the water”. But successive recent governments have ignored these obligations.  Sustainabilty and equitable sector management must be restored. 

         a. The aerial poison regime with 1080 and brodifacoum  be immediately stopped.  
    Possums are not a conservation pest (Landcare Research ). Possum have a vital role in ecosystem maintenance, and as well, are a valuable food and fibre source.                                        


10. Establish an Independent Environmental Protection Council independent of government or industry (akin to the Nature Conservation Council of the 1970s) as a public watchdog. Appointments must be non-political.

11. (a) Reorder priorities of the Department of Conservation to make first priorities conservation, the environment and recreation.    
(b) Commercial undertakings, e.g. so-called partnerships with ethnic groups (via Section 4  Conservation Act) or corporate partnerships be rejected.
(c) DOC’s statutory obligation to outdoor recreation and access be fully and properly recognised by adopting the name Department of Conservation and Outdoor Recreation (DOCOR). 
(d) First and foremost DOC must protect and maintain the public lands conservation estate embracing the 21st century ecosystem and not trying to recreate and preserve a hypothetical pre-European world.  

12. Impose stricter controls on foreign ownership of New Zealand land, including accurate statistics about the extent of foreign ownership of properties and businesses. Foreigners can lease land long-term with the mandatory proviso that any lessee purchaser must become a registered New Zealand citizen and reside in New Zealand for nine months of every year. Public access be not undermined by foreign leases

13. Full recognition by government of the public right to public resources of value for outdoor recreation with greater impetus and support to the Walking Access Commission. Maintenance, enhancement and development of public access rights to public lands. Education of Local Authorities and other State institutions, on their respective roles in protecting the public interest, are needed.

14. (a) Recognise the Treaty of Waitangi was about bringing two cultures together into one integrated society  and work towards establishing New Zealand into a harmonious, egalitarian society in line with Article 3. 
a. Treaty claim settlements are diluting the integrity of national parks e.g Urewera, Tongariro and other protected land tenures. Settlements should involve the Crown on behalf of the public, as the manager.
b. Treaty claims are threatening public access/use of the nation’s coasts and waterways.

15. Response to environmental needs. Governments should not use a free market trading ethos to solve environmental threats. For example trade-able carbon credits serve no  purpose to “global warming” and are detrimental with a monoculture of pines and economically. Tradable carbon credits are putting a value on pollution, and ultimately ensuring pollution. Forestry carbon sinks ability to sequester CO2 is so slight as to be meaningless, and anyway, when the forest has matured and can no longer sequester – what is the course then?

16. Establish a population policy for New Zealand - relative to national, regional, cultural
conflicts and immigration aspects. People put demands on resources, both land, water, energy, fishery and other resources.

17. The index for national prosperity, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) based on solely economic indicators, be replaced by a Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) based on three values - social, environmental and economic to thus fully measure the quality of life.


CORANZ is a council comprising a number of major national and regional outdoor recreation organisations. Its advocacy focuses on the common interests of “the million plus” New Zealanders who fish, hunt, shoot, tramp, ski, canoe, climb, walk, 4 wheel drive, mountain bike, or relax in New Zealand’s great outdoors.  


CORANZ member associations/affiliations/liaisons include -
     NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers (trout)
     NZ Salmon Anglers Association
     Tread Lightly (4 WD)
     Public Access New Zealand
     NZ Bowhunters Society
     Legasea (recreational sea fishing)
     NZ Jet-boating Assn
     Wellington Branch, NZ Deerstalkers Association
     Wellington Family 4x4 Assn.
     Marlborough Recreational (Sea) Fishers Assn. 
     Sporting Hunters Outdoor Trust (NZ)
     High Country Pleasure Riders Club (Horseriders)

(2)See www.coranz.org.nz