PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) — My question is for the Minister for Agriculture. Yesterday amendments to the wildlife regulations were tabled, and you answered questions from Mr Young regarding some of these changes. You stated then, and previously, that these changes were to start times regarding the recovery of shot birds and that other changes have been made in response to the atrocious behaviour of duck shooters on the 2017 opening weekend, where hundreds of birds, including protected species, were left on the wetlands. In one incident thousands of dead protected birds were buried in pits by shooters. This has shocked the community and even forced the Game Management Authority to publicly agree that the behaviour was appalling. As a result you commissioned a review into the Game Management Authority by Pegasus Economics. Minister, when will you release the report of the review to the public?
Ms PULFORD (Minister for Agriculture) — I thank Ms Pennicuik for her question and her interest in the operation of the Game Management Authority (GMA) and the arrangements for duck season last year and this year. The events of the last opening weekend were concerning, absolutely, and in part the response of government agencies, and so I asked the chair of the Game Management Authority to undertake a review of the compliance operation, including operational coordination with other agencies. I am currently considering this report and advice from my department as well as input from stakeholders on a range of issues, as I indicated to Mr Young yesterday.
I do not believe it is appropriate for matters pertaining to the operational matters of compliance agencies to be public documents, but I am certainly still considering that report and will respond to it accordingly.
Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) — Minister, thank you for your answer, but I take issue with it in that you are saying that a report that was commissioned as a result of the appalling behaviour and the inability of the Game Management Authority to actually enforce the regulations as they stood at the time — and in fact the new ones — should not be public. I think that is actually the essence of it. The fact is that the government says all the time, and the previous government said, that duck shooting is strongly regulated. But it is not enforced. The problem is with regard to the enforcement. How are the new regulations as tabled with regard to start times and the recovery of birds going to be enforced when authorised officers are unable to enter the water? As I have witnessed, they never do enter the water and they never enforce the regulations.