Hundreds of families and recreational fishers may have had their holidays spoiled by missing out on their fishing licences, with Conservation Minister Maggie Barry preferring instead to focus on more high profile portfolio priorities over the summer break, Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.
“Two of the biggest three licence issuers in the region have told me that at least 90 people have missed out on licences over the first three days of last week because of failures in the new system. That’s around 300 people and they stopped bothering to count after last Wednesday.
“Other people have to take a one hour round trip just to find somewhere to process a licence. An hour’s travel for a couple of hours’ fishing is just ridiculous.
“Some people are resorting to fishing without a licence, which totally undermines the system as they have no information on catch size and limit. But they are forced to by DoC’s failures.
“This is hugely frustrating for fishermen and licence issuers with some customers getting abusive.
“The Minister has been totally silent on this issue. She needs to take responsibility for this shambles and get it sorted. She seems to have been able to fit in other portfolio duties, dropping into a meeting of the Screen Advisory Board on Wednesday. But then, that’s about film stars, not fishermen.
“Maggie Barry must instruct DoC to allow paper licences to be issued right now until they can get the new system sorted so those people lucky enough to still be on holiday can enjoy their time off properly,” says Ruth Dyson.