Southland Fish and Game councillor could be forced to resign over 'appalling' comments about female scientists

A member of the Southland Fish and Game Council could be forced to resign over "inappropriate and unacceptable" comments he made about female scientists during a working group on whitebait fishing regulations. 

Ken Cochrane told 200 people at a meeting in Invercargill on Sunday that the Department of Conservation's (DoC) plans to regulate whitebait fishing have been biased by female scientists.

"I sat there on day one and I thought 'I'm listening to a whole bunch of chick scientists who, if you look at the view they were pitching, everybody in New Zealand should not shave their armpits . .. should whitebait in their jandals ... after they catch one patty for tea they should sit down, hold hands and sing Kumbaya'," he is quoted as saying by NZME.

His comments have been slammed by Southland Fish and Game.

"Mr Cochrane’s misogynistic comments are entirely inappropriate and unacceptable and in no way reflect the views of the Southland Fish and Game Council," deputy chairman Lindsay Withington told Newshub on Monday.

"The Southland Fish and Game Council is calling an emergency meeting to discuss Mr Cochrane’s appalling comments and an appropriate response, which may include seeking his resignation."

Withington said the Chairman of Southland Fish and Game has written to Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage to apologise for Cochrane's comments.

"I know that the Southland Fish & Game staff have the utmost respect for their DOC counterparts, work collaboratively on a number of issues and over the whitebait season actively assist with compliance activity."

DoC proposes to improve management of whitebait fishing across New Zealand to stop them being fished into extinction. In a 125-page-long proposal it suggests banning exports, changing the fishing seasons and reducing upstream limits.

Three of six kinds of whitebait are currently declining and classified as "at risk".

Newshub is working to make contact with Cochrane.