Conservation Week

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, September 17th, 2016 - 20 comments
Categories: Conservation, sustainability, water - Tags: , ,

It’s Conservation Week.  Get outside, show the kids nature!

Shame that 2/3rds of our rivers aren’t swimmable.  It’s no wonder that water gets into places like Havelock North’s drinking supply.

Radio NZ have a good comment piece about the Anthropocene Age we now live in.  Humans have so affected the every bit of the world that we’ll show up from a geological view.  They’re still identifying a year to begin but somewhere around 1950 there will start to be enough sediment contaminated from nuclear tests, plastic rubbish and concrete that we’ve made a permanent mark.

The Ministry for the Environment classifies as ‘endangered’ 81 percent of our resident bird species, 72 percent of freshwater fish, 88 percent of reptiles, 100 percent of native frogs, and 27 percent of resident marine mammal species.

Maui dolphin being the most worrying, and the plummet in Kea numbers being today’s worry.  Biodiversity is another human-caused crisis as large as climate change (and by that I don’t mean to diminish climate change!), but much less well publicised.

So good on the government for predator-free by 2050!  Except… $7 million/year?  NRT has done the sums: Predator-free by 3300!

And indeed he’s done better with OIAs to work out a better number after Magic TechTM.  DoC actually think they could do it for $50-80 million/year.  Which is ~20% increase in DoC’s budget, so not beyond reason.  Predator free NZ for that?  I’d take it!

Meanwhile, the pests are advancing – this time the wallabies.

20 comments on “Conservation Week”

  1. save nz 1

    Good post. Sad we have only alarming statistics and spin from the government for conservation.

  2. Takere 2

    What I think a lot of people haven’t been aware of in regards to Dept Conservation’s budgetary constraints & under-funding is the undeclared policy of this government to disenfranchise DoC as an Authoritative Statutory body by removing their authority to determine the future direction of the organisation. DoC are and main purpose will be that it becomes a “manager” of the Assets a caretaker only role with decision making at Ministerial level of influence removed. Why? Partnering up with the private sector, leasing of land & “Brand”, not oppose mining & generally enabling land to be sold. Current valuation of DoC managed land is $180bn – $220bn worth. NZ’s Nett International Debt -$163bn. So you can see just alone how important dodgy valuations are to this government. They’re up against it, the clock is counting-down in regards of external factors changing and moving in a negative direction as well as for example the housing crisis, poverty, poor productivity and the effects of Blinglish accounting software! It can only mean thing for DoC? Slash and burn & sell to pay the bills. Through the Treaty Settlement process too Maori’s redress is been used as leverage for this government to force iwi to fund Crown Capital responsibilities for spending in Housing, Private & Social, Health Sector, Education & Conservation. Whats redress mean again? Its a simple solution to all of these problems …. get rid of the mongrels.

  3. Keith 3

    The polluted drinking water, rivers, streams and lakes and the cover up going on by National that it’s all those darned sparrows and budgies fault and nothing to do with the farming sector, makes “Conservation Weak” a mockery.

    What is the next ironic activity, Truth Week?

  4. Ad 4

    I would like to see the Ministry for the Environment, MPA, and the Department of Conservation amalgamated into a Ministry for Environmental Protection.

    It would still have the duty to protect the conservation estate.

    But it would also have a strong policing function, with the power to take companies, individuals and farmers to court and to get property seizing powers similar to MPI and Fisheries assets.

    It would also have a regulatory function for the release of organisms and other applications.

    I would also hand over Landcorp to them, so that state farming would have to become a model farmer that would lead the way for sustainable farming practise.

    That way people would fear them, respect their commercial strength, and they could make money as well.

    We are also badly hampered by the weak and uneven Regional Councils who have done too little to protect our rivers and streams from damage. So I would give this new Ministry the capacity to put in statutory administrators if the Regional Council failed to bring all their rivers – and drinking water catchments – to minimum standards.

    The disaggregated and disorganized governance and enforcement structures we have at the moment means no one-fears them, and are just letting the current government and agribusiness run riot over the place.

    I just look at the hits Forest and Bird have made as an NGO recently, having to hold DoC to account, and it’s like Forest and Bird are a better model for conservation than the Department of Conservation.

    • Garibaldi 4.1

      Yes Ad ,but who would you put in charge? Minister of everything, Stephen Joyce , or perhaps Minister of monumental cockups’ Nick Smith, or even our highly erudite minister of climate change, Paula Bennett. Isn’t it fabulous to have such a great team at the helm?

      • Ad 4.1.1

        Since I’m proposing this for an alternative government to the one we have now, I’d go for someone who’s used to corralling a really large government department. You can choose your own, but I’d go for Annette King. She knows what it’s like to run, defend, restructure, and get funding for a massive enterprise.

        She knows how to challenge and win against senior officials.

        What we have at the moment is two massive Ministries who care about economic development at the expense of the environment.

        The first is the merged Forestry, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biosecurity Ministry called the Ministry of Primary Industry.

        The second one is the merged ministries of Immigration, Labour, Economic Development, Tourism, Building, and infrastructure planning, called MBIE.

        They divide and rule in Wellington, and they are fully absorbed into their key commercial clients. They really have no competition, and are close to immune to criticism, from anyone including their Ministers.

        So the idea is that my merged entity would be sufficiently strong to stand up to them, and defend the environment as a whole. We need all relevant state instruments to work as one to reverse the environmental damage we are facing.

      • Takere 4.1.2

        G. Not Pullah Benefit. She’s got enough on her plate …at McDonalds & KFC, Parliaments restaurant. Google Maps gets a workout with all of the food place notifications set on her phone and it is also programmed to avoid poor areas & homeless people living in cars & work ….. very busy! Joyce is a little weary of open spaces & dildos. A little paranoid. Nick Smith would be perfect! He’ll eventually get thrown under the bus just like the Chiefs Bus Driver has been.

  5. Bill 5

    Was pleasantly surprised to hear an interview of Dr Jamie Steer on Kim Hill this morning. Finally got to hear someone articulating what I’ve been trying to argue about conservation, in my own ham-fisted way, and for quite some time now.

    Even though I agree with it, I don’t expect the position to be very popular (read: bloody unpopular). Still…

    • mauī 5.1

      Bugger, I’m getting that feeling of being uncomfortably challenged.

      Something I have noticed is a lack of involvement from Māori in conservation projects, which means we’ve got something wrong.

  6. reason 6

    nationals Predator free spin should be called predator con …………….. where the Nacts make a big song about returning less money to a problem than what they had previously cut.

    “DOC has had $54 million slashed from its budget since 2009. Operations have been scaled back,” …

    Our toxic rivers are polluting the worlds oceans ……

    The nacts are as green as lignite ……..

  7. keepcalmcarryon 7

    Yes, the kea.
    The Government is saving the hell out of kea. It is a fact that the aerial poisoning being done in the “battle for the birds” is killing kea. They are a K-select species which means they are slow to mature and struggle to replenish following population damage.
    Aerial 1080 is averaging 13% mortality of kea across monitored studies. Every drop.

    • Lloyd 7.1


      • Lloyd 7.1.1

        If no Keas were being killed by possums and stoats then any deaths from 1080 use would be terrible. However we all know that ground living birds such as Keas are at high risk from the mammals introduced by humans into the New Zealand environment. 1080 use reduces or eliminates this predation for some time.
        What proportion of Kea and Kea eggs and chicks are killed by possums & stoats? What level of 1080- caused Kea death is acceptable if the total population of Kea is eventually higher after the 1080 drop, even if a number are killed by 1080?
        Getting emotional about some of the facts isn’t too useful.

        • keepcalmcarryon

          Reference yourself. Who says losses to predation are eventually higher? Ill put up some kea study info when i have time. Your entire post is assumption.
          Also consider that the loss of a chick is less devastating than the loss of fledged breeding birds.

          • keepcalmcarryon

            Here is a summary quote for you as at 2014 lloyd:
            ““A total of 150 kea were monitored and 20 keas deaths resulted from consuming 1080…It is also possible that kea deaths were not detected at the other sites due to small sample size.”
            – DOC Code of Practice for Aerial 1080 in Kea Habitat, 2014”

            Note that at North Okarito more than 75% of the local kea population died to poison.
            As Ive mentioned being K select means slow populaion replenishment, Kea conservation trust had some scientific papers on their website on population modelling showing loss of adult birds was 4 x more catastrophic than loss of chicks. Scientific papers no longer available on that site after their last site upgrade but you get the idea.

            This article was very interesting reading between the lines of departmental spin:

            “Similar concerns were raised in DOC’s code of practice for 1080 in Kea Habitat, reviewed in February.

            It said DOC did not know if the benefit to kea nesting and fledgling survival through the use of 1080 to kill predators was high enough to offset the impact of potential bird deaths.

            Native bird deaths from 1080 have been highlighted in previous studies.

            Authors in NZ Journal of Ecology 2014, said a review revealed a failure to investigate some native birds known to be killed during 1080 operations.

            They said it was not advisable to expose nationally critical or endangered birds to aerial 1080 baiting unless evidence showed the birds did not consume non-toxic bait”

            Aerial poisoning has a place in controlling pests but we are overusing it and entering a dangerous phase where departments believe their own slanted propaganda, political and financial expediency trumps actual conservation.

            Ask MPI about having cameras aboard fishing boats to prosecute illegal activity unless it might reflect badly on the department..

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    blockquote> DoC actually think they could do it for $50-80 million/year.
    That’s a very reasonable amount. Make it a hundred million per year for unexpected costs.

    Never get it from National of course as that would require them putting taxes up on the rich.

  9. gnomic 9

    Let’s get a grip here. The alpine parrots are doomed. We used to have a bounty on them afterwards leaving only a vestigial population. As birds go they were a bloody nuisance. Then came the bird smugglers after a rare species. Now presumably the predators brought here by humankind are getting up higher as it warms and taking the last nests. But hey, they were expendable. Maybe in the world of tomorrow the kids will be able to see holographic images on their VR goggles.

    I write as one who was fond of the kea, even after they chewed on my pack and boots high in the southern alps. Bloody good at unpicking stitches.

  10. Anthony 10

    Excellent choice of picture.

    It really does look like Maggie Barry is strangling the poor bird.

    An excellent summation of the impact of National’s policies on our environment and our homeless.

    • Garibaldi 10.1

      Sorry Anthony ,I think it is a poor choice of picture . To think I used to enjoy that woman’s programs… just seeing her reviles me now, but I guess it improves the look of the takahe.

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