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April 30, 2012 | by  | in News |
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Mercenaries Occupy Aro Valley

Troublesome bullets in hiptser paradise.

A decision by Wellington City Council (WCC) to use hunters to shoot wild animals in an inner-city suburb has some locals worried.

Residents of heavily student-populated Aro Valley have raised their concerns that a pest control initiative may pose a risk of stray bullets.

A WCC sign at the beginning of the Polhil Gully near Holloway Road warns that hunters have been employed to shoot wild pigs and goats in the area between 7am and 4pm over the next four months.

The sign says that hunters “will be obeying the firearms code and taking the utmost care”, and advises people to keep to marked tracks as well as keeping dogs on a leash at all times.

Holloway Road resident Don Franks told Salient that this was not enough to make him feel safe.

“Those tracks are not encased in bullet proof glass, following this advice is hardly a guarantee of safety,” he said.

“High powered rifles have no place firing in dense inner-city bush walkways”.

The gully at the end of Aro Valley contains a network of tracks which are used daily by walkers, runners, and mountain bikers.

In the last ten years there have been nine deaths and three serious injuries in hunting incidents nationwide. The most recent was in December last year, when a 23-year-

old man was killed with a rifle after being mistaken for a deer.

The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council has said that in most of these cases, the primary factor contributing to incidents was shooters failing to properly identify their targets.

WCC Manager of Reserves, Parks, and Gardens, Amber Bill, said the Council aims to minimise the likelihood of this kind of error by employing professional hunters, instead of the recreational ones most commonly involved in such incidents.

Bill told Salient the project is part of the Council’s Biodiversity Action Plan which went through a public consultation process in 2007.

More recently—in addition to signposting on trails—letters detailing the plans had been dropped at properties which backed directly onto affected areas.

In high-risk situations the Council would consider placing staff to temporarily block the entrances to tracks.

“We have been carrying out successful feral goat and pig control for many years using this methodology,” Bill said.

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  1. Don Franks says:

    Kia ora Nicola

    On Monday morning May 30th I ventured up the gully for a jog.

    Just before 9 am that day I heard 4 rifle shots closely placed together.

    They were a fair way off, but a professional hunter indetifying their target would surely not need four goes.

    As a young child, my old mate Joe Rahi from the body shop in Ford motors used to be sent out by his dad with a 22 and two bullets.
    Joe had to bring home two edible dead animals from his two bullets or get a hiding from his old man.

    Anyway, me and my partner Jill both wrote to the council voicing our concerns about this shooting around our home and they never had the courtesy to even reply. Not one word.

    I think so called local democracy is just all shit and what a waste of our hard earned rates.

    If you students want to go walkabout into our bush watch your arse, noone else will, certainly not our so called representatives.

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