28 Sep 2018

Bid to take government to court over Tahr cull plans

4:07 pm on 28 September 2018

The government could be taken to court over plans to kill 10,000 Himalayan Tahr.

19489693 - rare white himalayan tahr bull, hemitragus jemlahicus, in the southern alps of new zealand

Photo: 123rf

The Himalayan Tahr is a kind of wild goat which is accused of destroying native vegetation in the Southern Alps.

But commercial and recreational hunters say a cull of Tahr is a huge threat to their interests.

A fighting fund of $145,325 has been raised through Givealittle to pay for lawyers, if talks between the government and the hunting sector, set for Monday, do not go well.

The cull is opposed by the National Party as well as by hunters, and there is even confusion about when it will start.

But the Minister for Conservation has given parliament details about how it will happen, with the animals herded into groups with helicopters, and then killed with shotguns.

Eugenie Sage was answering a question from the National Party MP Todd McClay about slaughter by helicopter-borne hunters.

"I have not instructed the Department [of Conservation] to do that," she told MPs.

"But the department will be using aerial control, it needs to do the control operation now, and yes it will be using shotguns in the same way that hunters use guns to kill Tahr themselves. "

Ms Sage said the operation had to be done quickly before a new breeding season started.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs