Recreational Fishing Reps Fighting Amongst Themselves

 

We received copy of the following through an unsolicited e-mail distribution list and therefore don't have too much problem with reproducing it here. Its been interesting to note that in the last couple of years the recco's have aligned themselves alongside the rampant "greenies" ('Twigs n Twitters' and 'ECO"). We would have really thought that that lot would be very dangerous and cannabalistic bed partners. We (industry) have always taken the position that whilst we may have some issues of principle that don't match the recreational goals, we have tried to work together with them to advocate for extractive users (commercial, recreational and customary). The industry is currently working with the Ministry and the Minister to address issues of 'recreational only areas'.

Anyway, there now seems to be a situation developing within the recreational sector where the major players can't seem to see 'eye to eye'. Who represents who?

Anyway, have a read...

 

The current issue of NZ Fishing Coast to Coast magazine contains an editorial I have written regarding the standoff between the
New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council and the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council. It gives my opinion on the NZBGFC’s
handling of the name change and in particular the editorial written in NZ Fishing News directed at Keith Ingram where he was accused
of treason. Part of that editorial is printed below.
Throughout the debate I have attempted to keep an open mind on what is best for fishing; anyone following my editorials, and in
particular recent ones, would know that I have no problem in (constructively) criticising any of the groups. The NZRFC have arguably
come under the most attack from me, however, I’ve kept my strongest criticism to date for all the groups in their efforts to align
with the green organisations. Let me assure you that Wellington doesn’t like it and neither do I. Just check what’s happening across
the ditch if you want to see our potential future. Its not pretty...
While I still have an open mind to the best outcome for fishing in NZ, I’m starting to form some strong opinions. One phone call
I received was from NZRFC president Geoff Rowling. While I have been critical of him in the past, his attitude during that phone
call to moving forward was notable.
Conversely, I’m left with the feeling that there are very polarising elements within the NZBGFC. Someone from within this magazine
is clearly in that camp as emails marked ‘personal and confidential’ shared between the writers ended up in the letter box of at
least one NZBGFC member as well as on the desk of the editor of NZFN. Another writer (as he says he wasn’t the leak) was less
than complimentary of Ingram and threatened legal action. We have also had advertising pulled by two customers associated with
the NZBGFC although one has since rescinded that decision.
Give me a break. Who says there aren’t agendas...
For the last few years it has been my opinion that the groups need to all work together for the greater good. Now, I’m not so sure.
With just one group to deal with government and the issues, it is a lot easier for a stand to be taken that may not necessarily be that
of the majority.
Maybe what we need is two properly funded organisations able to look after their own respective specialty areas that can combine
for the big issues. As one voice of reason suggested to me, there needs to be a paid advocate working for us based in Wellington. I
agree with that.
The positive of all that is happening is that there has been more discussion held on the future the last few weeks than the last few
years. I get the feeling there is still more blood going to be on the floor before its all over though...
An abridged version of the editorial follows...
Michael Rendle
Editor
Director
NZ Fishing Coast to Coast Magazine.


NZ Fishing Coast to Coast Magazine Editorial Issue 52
As editor of this magazine there are two fears I have; one is doing something so stupid within it that I become a target for our competitors to toy with. The second is that our competitors do the same and that we have no option but to respond or initiate legal action.
To be honest, the second gives us no pleasure either. We like calm, happy people and a friendly atmosphere. So it is with frustration that I need to deal to two of our competitors this issue.
First, let me bring you up to speed with the major issue confronting recreational anglers at the moment – there is a large power struggle going on between the NZ Recreational Fishing Council (NZRFC) and the NZ Big Game Fishing Council (NZBGFC). It is open warfare and at first glance appears totally unbalanced as one side has all the cash and the other side has none.
Before I go further, let me declare my position – I have an open mind but lots of opinions to share with you. Back at issue 50 I suggested that the two groups may well have been working closer together (although wrongly with the green elements as time will show). I couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Recently the Big Game Fishing Council moved to change their name to the NZ Sportfishing Council. In other words, attempt, once and for all, to destroy the Rec Fishing Council by becoming the default body for recreational fishing in NZ. Let’s not fudge that. That is the intention. Whether that is a good or bad thing is something for the individual to weigh up. I have been both a critic and supporter of both organisations. Further along this editorial I will give you a scenario to think about that I hope will at least help you to see that there are two sides to this. It may also make you question how your money is best spent.
Before that I need to address the first distasteful issue. Let me summarise to save you wading through the dozens of pages of emails and letters I’ve read.
When the AGM of the NZBGFC approved the name change, the president and immediate past president of the NZRFC spoke to discuss their options. They felt the meeting had been hijacked and that 34 years of work by the NZRFC was under threat from the actions of the NZBGFC. The pair discussed their next move and did what they should have done – they took action. The obvious move was to protect their ‘brand’. That they did by putting a block on any similar names through the company’s office. They didn’t register any; they placed a hold on them as a counter measure to give their organisation time to discuss the ramifications. It was the action we would expect of an executive with a responsibility to ensure the future of an organisation. They should be commended for that.
Instead they have been pilloried. That culminated in the most abysmal piece of editorial written by NZ Fishing News editor, Grant Dixon. Actually culminated is the wrong word as it was clearly fired from the hip without all the facts and not even proof read properly, something clearly shown by the mistake of calling NZRFC president Geoff Rowling ‘Keith Rowling’. Keith Ingram was taken to task in the editorial and accused of treason. He did nothing more or less than what he should have for his organisation. In fact, playing the man in this case is despicable. If Dixon had left his comments to just his views on the move by the NZRFC I could have agreed, or agreed to disagree, but picking on Ingram, one of the hardest-working, most knowledgeable and honourable men in the political arena is below contempt. He did no more than the job he was asked to do. I have a degree of unease over whether Dixon would have written things the same way if Keith Ingram was their writer not ours.
I also asked myself, before writing this, if I would have written in response the same way if it had been Geoff Rowling criticised, rather than Ingram. The answer is, yes I would have. That editorial was wrong in so many ways.
Grant, I have respect for your work over many years, but in my opinion, you owe Keith Ingram an apology for this one...
Just before I move on to the real issue and my thoughts, let me just say that there has been something of a witch-hunt going on since the issue flared, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since before Tudor times. Several of my writers have been caught in that. It would seem that some in NZBGFC are determined to see off the ‘troublemakers’. Since starting this editorial one of those writers caught in the action submitted a formal notice to his executive, commonsense prevailed and that group have admitted to their error. As you can see, it is one big mess that has a lot more fallout to follow.
So, let’s get to the crux of the issue. It is a ‘power’ battle between two groups.
Before we take that further, here’s a fairy story. Once upon a time in a far off land there was a bunch of people who liked to play golf. A number of their members decided to form a group to look after the best interests of golfers and to work with the government for the benefit of those members. There were no fees for that but they asked for voluntary donations.
Meantime, some of their number also played mini golf. Mini golf kept records in faraway lands and it was decided that each member should pay a compulsory fee through their club to a separate mini golf board. It didn’t matter if the members didn’t play mini golf; the fee was taken from the club fee regardless. Worse, if they wanted to enter a mini golf contest in a far away land, the chances were, they’d pay yet another affiliation fee to mini golf via that club. Some called it two under par, others called it double dipping.
One day the mini golf committee decided they knew best and would implement the golden rule – they had all the gold so they would rule. There were some good guys on the mini golf board but, many of the people who played mini golf wanted them to look after just mini golf, not the rest of the sport. So a power battle began...
Simple thing isn’t it to substitute the NZBGFC and NZRFC in the appropriate places.
Let me state again that I have an open mind to all of this at the moment but we live in a democracy and I should have a choice. In reference again to Grant Dixon’s editorial, he states that the NZBGFC has a ‘huge mandate’ based on the $400,000 annual budget they have. I disagree. They have a mandate to look after the sport of big game fishing in NZ. In fact, here’s what it says on their website –
‘Firstly, the Council was formed to be the central body for all matters relating to the sport of game fishing in New Zealand.’
I didn’t ask them to take the fees compulsorily collected off me to use for anything other than the protection of the sport of big game fishing. Did you? If my fees are being used to support fishing in general, would the NZBGFC be happy for me to choose which of the two organisations I want it paid to?
Better still, maybe the clubs throughout NZ would like to pay a fee to each of the organisations on behalf of each member. According to the NZBGFC web site that is currently $6-50. Even if they paid just $5 per member (32,000 according to the editorial) that would be more than $150,000 extra to support recreational issues. I know I’d happily pay $5 more to the club each year.
The real scary part is that this turns into a ‘them and us’ situation. There seems little chance of getting the two groups together now. NZRFC clearly aren’t going to roll over and be reamed, in fact they already have the support of the NZ Angling and Casting Association, the Marine Transport Association and the NZ Underwater Association.
The question for the rest of us to ask is whether we are happy with the actions of NZBGFC, whether you are happy that they are the recipient of much of your money by default and whether they are the right body to move forward with our future. If you are, that’s great. If not, ask questions of your own club executive.
The concern for the NZBGFC is that the (and I’m guessing here) maybe 90% of the club members nationally who will never gamefish will now want accountability for the use of that portion of their funds. Some may not realise where they have been going all this time.
In fact I’d go further and say that it’s the NZBGFC that potentially has the most to lose...