On behalf of all New Zealand hunters, the NZ Tahr Foundation went to the High Court in Wellington yesterday for a judicial review of DOC's plans to mount a determined effort to radically reduce tahr numbers in the Southern Alps, including exterminating them in National Parks.
The case attracted considerable media and public attention and there was standing room only in the public gallery when the case started, with extra seats having to be brought in to accommodate the numbers. Those attending included the hunting community, with guides, the NZ Tahr Foundation, Deerstalkers Association and individual hunters all present.
The case was heard by Justice Dobson, with the Tahr Foundation's legal team headed by QC Jack Hodder.
Mr Hodder told the court that DOC's 2020-21 operational plan was unlawful and unfair and that hunters had not been properly consulted.
He said it would have an adverse impact on the guiding sector of the tourism industry and the plan should be quashed.
He asked that the number of tahr DOC wants to kill should be reconsidered and the hunting sector properly consulted.
DOC's case was argued by David Laurenson QC who downplayed the contribution recreational hunters make to control tahr numbers and said that the National Parks Act required DOC to exterminate tahr within National Parks.
Justice Dobson quizzed both legal teams, asking for greater explanation of their claims. The case ran the whole day and Justice Dobson reserved his decision.
He is expected to deliver it by next week, possibly as early as this Friday evening.
Meanwhile, support for the Tahr Petition continues to grow, with the number of people who have signed now approaching 50,000.
If you haven't signed, go here now and add your signature to the growing list (note - don't donate here).
And while you are at it, consider contributing to the Give A Little campaign so we can continue the fight to save these magnificent game animals. To throw a few dollars in the pot, click this link; https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/nztf
To highlight the issue, a peaceful protest is being planned in the heart of tahr country next weekend and the event is already getting media publicity; .