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DOC fixes family fishing licence glitch after Fair Go steps in for teen

A fix-up to the Lake Taupō family fishing licence scheme has saved summer for one bunch of keen anglers at Motuoapa Bay.

The Department of Conservation runs the scheme and issues family licences, but was refusing to add 18-year-old Tayla Hooper to a family licence, even though DOC’s own rules explicitly stated this should have been allowed.

“I feel robbed,” the 18-year-old told TVNZ1's Fair Go, before the problem was fixed.

DOC rules state a child is anyone under 18 before the season starts on July 1 each year, so Ms Hooper’s mum had tried to add her in October, even though her daughter had turned 18 by that time.

That should have been no problem, but the online portal wouldn’t accept it. Ms Hooper and her mum refused to accept the advice from the DOC helpline.

“The lady said oh just fudge your birthday, I'm like, ‘no’,” Mrs Hooper told Fair Go, pointing out a fake date would be obvious as licences are cross-checked to a driver licence or other photo ID.

Mrs Hooper says she was also laughed at when she tried to point out her problem.

“They offered it, I thought I'll take up the opportunity and then I got denied it, I was a bit gutted.”

DOC quickly admitted the mistake and requested a software update that also solved the problem for two others and said most of the 8500 child licences for Lake Taupo fishing had been free of trouble.

“Given the large number of licences issued without apparent incident, we are confident that the issue has been a relatively new problem,” said Peter Shepherd, a DOC senior ranger.

DOC says checks on Lake Taupo over December and January have found only 10 people fishing without a licence, which is on par with previous years.

Tanya was still 17 on the July 1 cut-off date, but her mum applied in October, after she had turned 18. Source: Fair Go