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The popular kiwi pastime of whitebaiting in the Buller, West Coast and Tasman is at risk of being banned if the Minister of Conservation gets her way, National’s List MP based in West Coast-Tasman Maureen Pugh says.

“National are concerned that the Minister of Conservation’s ideological views are clouding her judgement again, and that she is attempting to sneakily ban whitebaiting in New Zealand.

“Her Indigenous Freshwater Fish Amendment Bill’s transitional clauses mean that after a year whitebaiting will be prohibited unless there is specific authorisation to do otherwise.

“National are not supporting the Bill through its second reading because we support the whitebaiting community, and do not want to see this traditional kiwi pastime outlawed.

“Our Conservation spokesperson Sarah Dowie has started a petition to save New Zealand’s whitebaiting industry.

“No one wants to see the whitebait disappear, and National supports practical measures to increase population numbers of indigenous freshwater fish in partnership with the whitebaiting community.

“Whitebaiting is a kiwi tradition for many New Zealanders, it puts food on the table, creates livelihoods and is a recreational pastime. Sign our petition and have your voice heard.”

The petition to save whitebaiting in New Zealand can be found at

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