Great Barrier Island Environmental News

 

STOP PRESS

Government announces ambitious CONSERVATION goal

 

As we go to press, the Government has announced the adoption of the Predator Free New Zealand 2050 target and plans to set up a new public-private partnership company by the beginning of 2017 to help fund regional large-scale predator eradication programmes.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said that “Now is the time for a concerted long-term nationwide effort to rid ourselves of the introduced rats, stoats and possums...”

Under the strategy a new government company, Predator Free New Zealand Limited, will sponsor community partnerships and pest eradication efforts around the country.

The idea is to bring together central and local government, iwi, philanthropists, and community groups to tackle large-scale predator free projects in regions around New Zealand. The Predator Free 2050 Project will combine the resources of lead government agencies the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Primary Industries to work in partnership with local communities.

2025 goals

Four interim goals for 2025 have been set for the project:

  • An additional 1 million hectares of land where pests have been supressed or removed through Predator Free New Zealand partnerships.

  • Development of a scientific breakthrough capable of removing at least one small mammalian predator from New Zealand entirely.

  • Demonstrate areas of more than 20,000 hectares can be predator free without the use of fences.

  • Complete removal of all introduced predators from offshore island nature reserves.

The last goal of course will be of particular interest to Great Barrier Island residents, ratepayers and visitors.

 

From left: Steven Joyce, John Key and Maggie Barrie at Zealandia on 25 July 2016 where the Prime Minister announced the Government's goal of a Predator Free Zealand by 2050. Zealandia was New Zealand’s first fenced predator-free sanctuary. The announcement  paves the way for fences such as this, and the one at Glenfern Sanctuary, one day, to be pulled down.

Photo: Kevin Stent/Fairfax NZ

 

 

Where is the money coming from?

The Government has said it will look at contributing $1 of government funding to every $2 of private sector and local government funding. It is also setting aside $28 million over four years to set up the new Crown Entity, Predator Free New Zealand.  Currently, around $60-80 million is spent by the Government on pest and predator control each year in New Zealand

Predator Free New Zealand would be responsible for identifying large, high-value predator control projects and attracting co-investors to increase their size and extent and implement them.

Banking on technology

The plan puts a lot of weight on developing yet-to-exist technology and scientific break-throughs to enable large scale removal of predators from rural and urban area. No mention was made of funding for these advancements.

 

Complete removal of all introduced predators from offshore island nature reserves.

 

Environmental News Issue 36 Winter 2016

 

So many questions

While this week the politicians on both sides of the house lap up the media attention a bold announcement like this brings, there are, and will be many questions to answer.

What role will communities, iwi and other stakeholders play, and how will priorities be set?

And what, if any, are the plans for Aotea/Great Barrier Island, surely a priority for the total eradication of predators?

So change is in the air, and the seemingly impossible dream of the few now seems to have been embraced by the many.


 

Glenfern from Port FitzRoy wharf. Photo: Glenfern Sanctuary

Overlooking Port FitzRoy from Glenfern Sanctuary. Photo: Glenfern Sanctuary

Photo: Glenfern Sanctuary

North Island Robin — the first birds were released on Glenfern Sanctuary in 2005.

Photo: Glenfern Sanctuary