New Zealand

A photo from a security camera on John Knight’s property, showing a man illegally hunting. Photo / Supplied

A man from Dunedin wants a crackdown on poaching as the South is revealed to have the highest rate of illegal hunting in the country.

Professor John Knight is pushing the government for a change in the law to increase penalties in an attempt to deter poachers after they are fed up with people hunting illegally on his land.

Over the past five years, 82 police prosecutions have been brought for illegal hunting in the South.

The next closest police district was Bay of Plenty, with 61.

Northland and the counties of Manukau had none.

Knight has experienced the scourge of poaching firsthand, on more than one occasion.

He and his wife, Dr Alison Knight, have owned 229 ha in Tuapeka West, bordering the Clutha River, since 1981.

They were so annoyed by the poachers that they installed dozens of security cameras on their property.

“It makes you feel incredibly unsafe, when you’re hunting on your own property or your friends are …

“You are worried that someone will get shot by accident,” he said.

The move paid off and a man was sentenced last year to 250 hours of community service and ordered to confiscate his gun and boat from the Crown after being photographed illegally hunting on the grounds.

He has been charged with two offenses under the Wildlife Control Act, but Knight is lobbying the government to amend the Weapons Act so that the police can instead charge hunters under that law. .

Under this law, possession of a firearm is an offense if it is not for a lawful, appropriate or sufficient purpose and an offense that can carry a prison term of up to four years or one. fine of up to $ 5,000.

But it has become case law in New Zealand that hunting per se is not an illegal activity.

Knight spoke to Taieri MP Ingrid Leary about it, after failing to convince a select committee last year.

Leary said she was investigating whether changing the wording of the law would make a difference in the number of poachers captured.

“If it could make a material difference, I would pursue it further.”

Inspector Craig Brown, chief of coastal prevention for Otago, said the south had a large number of hunters, which could explain the higher number.

Technology was improving in terms of security, and people were also improving in reporting illegal hunting, he said.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-08 21:22:38


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