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Source: Department of Conservation


The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today announced a targeted ministerial review into the governance of Fish and Game New Zealand and regional Fish and Game councils.

Date:  10 June 2020 Source:  Office of the Minister of Conservation

The statutory agency, Fish and Game New Zealand, is responsible for managing most of New Zealand’s game bird hunting and freshwater fishing for species such as trout and salmon.

“The laws governing Fish & Game were enacted some 30 years ago. An organisational health check is timely to make sure Fish and Game’s governance and organisational arrangements are fit for purpose today,” said Eugenie Sage.

Two independent experts, former Law Commission member and former Secretary for Justice Belinda Clark and former Environment Court commissioner John Mills have been appointed to undertake the review

Belinda Clark of Wellington has recently retired from the Law Commission. She has been a CEO of several entities and has extensive expertise in organisational management, public administration and law. 

John Mills from Wellington is a former Environment Court commissioner, sheep and beef farmer and former regional councillor for Environment Southland. He has significant experience in decision making around the environment and natural resources and knowledge of rural New Zealand.

“The review is limited to a health check of the governance of Fish and Game. It is not a review of Fish and Game’s statutory roles or functions. Interested parties, including licence holders, will be able to provide their views to the review panel,” Eugenie Sage said.

She said she was pleased with the support of Fish and Game’s leadership for a review and their help in progressing it.

The review panel is being supported and funded by DOC. The panel is responsible to, and will report to, the Minister of Conservation rather than the department.

It is anticipated that the review panel will produce a report by the end of 2020.

About Fish and Game

Fish and Game comprises a national council and 12 regional councils. They are public entities, established under section 27 of the Conservation Act 1987.  Council elections are held every three years and regional Fish and Game councils nominate members to be part of the NZ Fish and Game Council.  Council members are all volunteers and receive no compensation for their time.

Fish and Game NZ manages, maintains and enhances sports fish and game birds and their habitats in the best interests of present and future generations of anglers and hunters.

Fish and Game NZ is funded almost entirely by licence fees paid by fishing and gamebird shooting licence holders.  It does not receive government funding. The organisation reports to the Minister of Conservation.

For the 2019/20 year licence fee revenue was $3.5 million.

Review panel

Belinda Clark.  QSO, LLM, LLB (Hons), BA

Belinda Clark has experience in leading organisations and advising government on policy and legal issues. She has held a number of Chief Executive roles, including as Secretary for Justice/Chief Executive of the Ministry of Justice for over 10 years; Public Sector Commissioner of Victoria (Australia); and Chief Executive of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).

Her most recent role (2017-2020) was as a Commissioner with the Law Commission where she led projects on the review of statutory and corporate trust law; reforming abortion law, and the development of a legislative framework to govern class actions and litigation funding.

Belinda has extensive knowledge of New Zealand’s legal system and legal issues is a recognised authority on Treaty of Waitangi issues and has considerable experience in risk and assurance oversight and project governance. She has published and spoken widely on both management and legal issues.

John Mills. BA

John Mills has extensive experience at a range of levels across the rural and natural resources sectors. 

His early career starting as a farmworker, through to owning and operating a successful 250-hectare sheep and beef farm have given John a practical understanding of working on the land and dealing with environmental issues. 

Later roles as a Southland Regional Councillor and then commissioner of the Environment Court have provided John with practical experience in governance and decision making around environmental issues.


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