by David Haynes

Having heard almost every old cliche and assumptions why NOT support the new Outdoors Party. Here are 10 good reasons why you should.

1. I’d like to vote for you, but it’s a wasted vote.
Wrong. The beauty of our Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system is not only that it allows every voter two votes ( a local vote for an MP and a party vote for a political party) but it invariably returns governments without overall majority Here’s how the last seven elections have turned out

General Election Year | Winning party | Number of seats
2014 National 60 of 121
2011 National 59 of 121
2008 National 58 of 122
2005 Labour 50 of 121
2002 Labour 52 of 120
1999 Labour 49 of 120
1996 National 44 of 120

What this means in practice is that in order for the party with the most votes to form a government it has to form alliances and cut deals with minor parties in return for their support on certain items on the parliamentary agenda. So, voting for the Outdoors Party is not a wasted vote – given that we intend to work alongside the Government of the day, if we can put at least one candidate into Parliament we have a very real chance of making a difference.

2. Single issue parties never get many votes.
The single issue of outdoor recreation comprises many elements such as;

  • Protecting our rivers and streams from relentless dams, discharges and abstraction?
  • Creating more National Parks and gazetted conservation land.
  • Building more huts and tracks.
  • Stopping the casino tactics of aerially broadcast 1080.
  • Creating recreational marine reserves and recreational fish species.
  • Banning the raising and sale of trout for commercial gain.
  • Managing wild game as a sustainable resource and not as a pest to be exterminated.

Secondly, given two votes, the Outdoors Party can be your party vote without compromising your candidate (local MP) vote.

Thirdly, National, Labour, the Greens, United Future, Maori and NZ First all tend towards neo-liberalism – free trade, entrepeneurialism, health and education for all and financial prudence. Given this blurring of differences between these parties means we can work with any and all of these in return for implementing our outdoor recreation policies.

3. It’s been done before – and it failed.
Yes and no. Stuart, Sherry and Zane Mirfin started the Outdoor Recreation Party and won 26,000 votes in the 2002 election – a massive slice of the votes given the short lead-in time. Such was their initial success that a number of candidates from other parties courted them to try and appropriate outdoors votes and policies prior to the 2002 election. Thereafter ORP made a decision to broaden their political base by effectively ”giving” their voter base to United Future.
This proved something of a disaster as the 2005 election saw the combined vote of UF and ORP reduce substantially (from 136,000 and 26,000 respectively in 2002, to 61,000 in 2005). It was a marriage of incompatibilities – Christian based politics meets hunters and anglers.

4. Why not just vote for the Green Party instead?
It is true that many of the Green’s policies are similar to ours, such as making all rivers swimmable. There are some major philosophical differences however – the fundamentalist elements of the Green Party see all introduced animals as pests to be exterminated, whereas we believe trout, salmon, deer, pigs, tahr, chamois and game birds are a valuable resource which should be managed from a recreational perspective.
The Green Party also supports indiscriminate animal poisoning, such as aerial 1080 whereas we believe this practice is nothing more than a lethal lottery, all bets being laid on a rat eating a poisoned bait before anything else and nothing eating the poisoned rat thereafter.

5. NZ First already represent the outdoors, so why vote for you?
Richard Prosser, of NZ First has an impressive record of support for some outdoor policies, such as banning 1080. We have the greatest respect for Richard but note that he is a single voice within NZ First and his party has a history of not participating in the supply and confidence process i.e. they have effectively withdrawn from the parliamentary process. That is a wasted vote.

6. Talking of Banning 1080 – aren’t you duplicating the Ban 1080 Party
No. Our policy of ceasing the way poisons are used on public land is similar but we have a much wider remit as we have explained above.

7. Give me one good reason to vote for you?
We can give you ten good reasons to vote for us:

1. No new National Parks have been formed since 2002 (Rakiura/Stewart Island), National Parks give public land special status and protect it from development. Working with outdoors groups we want to identify areas that are deserving of National Park status.

2. 10% of land administered by DoC is stewardship land and lacks any conservation status or protection – we want to see all public land being given protection from exploitation and commercial development.

3. There are only eight ( formerly ten) recreational hunting areas within the public conservation estate. Again working with outdoors groups, hunters and the Game Animal Council, we believe there are many more opportunities to create and manage RHAs.

4. Up to 67% of our lowland rivers and streams are now so polluted they are unfit for bathing. Our foothill rivers are being denuded by groundwater abstraction and our back country rivers and lakes are under threat of diversion for massive irrigation schemes. All this has a negative impact on our fish, both salmonids and natives. We wish to ratchet up freshwater standards to stop the unsustainable abstraction, exploitation and continued pollution of our most valuable natural resource.

5. We seek to enshrine in legislation the prohibition of the commercial raising and sale of trout once and for all. Trout farming increases the risk of disease reaching our wild stock, can create a black market for poaching and overseas experience has been that trout farming is, at best, a marginal economic enterprise.

6. DoC’s budget has been cut every year since 2009 resulting in many tracks and huts being left to ruin. We believe DoC’s fundamental purpose is to support outdoor recreation and to this end we seek to re-instate their budgets to levels that will enable them to focus on rejuvenating the heritage of huts and tracks.

7. Recreational sea fishers come a poor second to the commercial trawlers. We will create recreational marine reserves for fishers to enjoy and recreational only species, such as kahawai and kingfish. We will review the Quota Management System to stop the waste and destruction from practices such as dumping of by-catch.

8. Stopping top dressing public lands with poisons, such as 1080. We believe the current practice of betting a rat will eat a 1080 bait before a bird or deer is noting more than casino mentality and 50 years of continued 1080 use without any change in rat, stoat or possum counts is testament to a failed pest management strategy.

9. Re-purposing the Game Animal Council towards being recreation focussed.

10. Managing our introduced animals as a sustainable resource for both recreational and commercial benefit and not as unwanted pests to be destroyed.

David Haynes

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Alan Simmons

Alan Simmons

President & Co-Leader Alan has dedicated a lifetime of involvement in outdoors political issues. He’s sat on a number of national body executives, boards, NGO and management groups, including the NZ Professional Hunting Guides Association, Electricorp Environmental Management Board, NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers and the NZ Professional Fishing Guides Association. Many will know him through his website, the hugely popular New Zealand FishnHunt forum.

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