21 Jun 2016

Overseas guides slipping under the radar - NZ hunters

2:44 pm on 21 June 2016

Foreign guides illegally working in New Zealand are slipping under the radar and need to be brought under control, fishing and hunting guides say.

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Photo: 123rf.com

New Zealand guides are pushing for a licensing system, which would only be available to New Zealand citizens or residents.

Professional Fishing Guides Association president Kevin Payne said people were being undercut by overseas operators who did not pay concession fees.

"We have to have health and safety plans, first aid certificates, you know certificates for running boats, not everybody has that criteria it just depends on their operation.

"But these guys just come in and basically have nothing and just use the resource and New Zealanders see none of the GST or any of the tax."

He said overseas guides were slipping under the radar, with a number working illegally on visitors visas.

NZ Game Animal Council chairman Don Hammond said it was not a level playing field.

"We've got this strong sense of fair play ourselves, and we just assume that everyone else does it. Unfortunately that's not the way of the world."

He said overseas operators could ruin visitors experiences in New Zealand, damaging its image.

"If they [tourists] come to New Zealand and have a bad experience because they've employed an overseas based guide or something, they won't blame the guide, they'll blame New Zealand and we'll be the ones who wear the downside to that."

Fish and Game said it had been working with Professional Fishing Guides on this issue and reached an agreement with them on the introduction of a guide's licence.

"This licence category would essentially only allow New Zealand residents to guide anglers."

It said a paper recommending the introduction of a guide's licence was being prepared for Conservation Minister Maggie Barry to consider.

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