Kereru killers to be charged

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Public outrage which was sparked by five Norwegian tourists who shot and killed two protected kereru who then posted videos of the killing onYouTube will be charged.

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson told the Dominion Postthat the five hunters being charged did not have permits to hunt on the West Coast of the South Island, where the shooting occurred.

Ihave received an emailed apology from the five men, and while I accept they now regret what they have done, I don’t consider their excuses to be credible. The callous disregard these men showed for our native wildlife was outrageous and New Zealanders were justifiably angered by the footage they released.”

The laying of charges will mean that if the men ever return to New Zealand, they will be arrested. The charges will be laid under the Wildlife Act and the Conservation Act, and carry a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison or a $100,000 fine.

The men had obtained hunting permits for the Canterbury and Otago conservancies, but did not have permits to hunt on the West Coast, where the offending occurred.

A DOC spokesman last month said it was up to the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime to decide whether action would be taken against the men in their own country.

The hunters, who used a high-powered rifle to kill the native birds in January, posted the footage on the internet and have since returned to Norway.

The video showed a man holding two dead kereru and also had a clip showing a paradise duck being shot illegally with a rifle.

Source: Dominion Post

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