Predator free NZ – how are we doing?

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, January 20th, 2017 - 30 comments
Categories: Conservation, national, spin, useless - Tags: , ,

Forest and Bird remind us that

It has been 6 months since the announcement that New Zealand would be predator free by 2050 garnered worldwide attention.

The clock is ticking, how are we doing?

Back home, the focus has turned to how can we accomplish such a task? Will there be secure funding for the next 30 years? And who will develop a much-needed national predator-free strategy?

The Government plans to form a joint-venture company called Predator Free New Zealand (PFNZ) Ltd that it will use to spearhead pest eradication efforts. It will work with communities, attract co-investors, invest in scientific research, and accelerate the scale of pest control.

PFNZ will be a Crown entity, and one of its jobs will be to attract $2 of private sector and local government funding for every $1 of government funding. This would turn the Governments $28 million “seed money” into $84 million – or $21 million per year for the next four years.

“I’m a little bit sceptical about that,” says Kevin Hackwell. “There is a lot of hype that the private sector and businesses are going to flood into biodiversity and fund predator control. It would be lovely to think they could, but New Zealand is a small place. I can’t see the private sector putting tens of millions of dollars into conservation.

“The worry is that everything is predicated on getting this money but if it doesn’t materialise, will the government come through with the extra money?” …

Sounds like nothing concrete has happened yet. Come on National – it was your promise – let’s see the action!

30 comments on “Predator free NZ – how are we doing?”

  1. Cinny 1

    I haven’t heard of anything new being done apart from the usual 1080 poison drops.

    Would say the predator free NZ was another shallow promise from the outgoing government, all press announcements and no action.

  2. aom 2

    It will happen as long as volunteers do all the organisation and work, so that big business and Government can take the credit.

  3. rob 3

    It will be the same as the smoke free b.s. it will never happen but nice dreamy feel good factor to those that listen.

  4. weka 4

    PFNZ will be a Crown entity, and one of its jobs will be to attract $2 of private sector and local government funding for every $1 of government funding. This would turn the Governments $28 million “seed money” into $84 million – or $21 million per year for the next four years.

    Was that donations from the private sector and local govt, or investment?

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Investment. In other words, they’d expect a return greater than the amount that they invested. The only place that that money could come from is the tax payers which means that the only way that the government could expect that sort of investment from the private sector is if the government promised massive funding to implement the research so that the private sector investors would actually have government guaranteed profits.

      Predator free may be a good idea but don’t waste time with private sector investment as it’ll just cost more than if the government simply did it itself.

  5. Bill 5

    “We’re not fighting a war, and if we were, we lost it long ago: Get over it. We now have literally thousands of exotic species in this country and tens of new species are added to the ledger each year. Apologies to the faint of heart, but we can’t disinvite them. Nor can we wind back the clock to a romantic pristine past. We’ll have to start managing for the environments of the future and stop pretending like Gondwanaland is either sensible or achievable”
    – Jamie Steer

    And an interview he gave to Kim Hill

    He’s well worth the listen in my humble opinion…

    • Siobhan 5.1

      He makes an interesting point. Once an environment is so completely changed there is no easy ‘turning back’ of the clock.

      an example..In the Cook Islands they recently destroyed the last few mynas (introduced). The last 4 females, with no sign of breeding last season. Which was the plan.
      Unfortunately this has led to an increase in the stick insect population…which in turn has resulted in an increase in the Kingfisher population.
      And there is nothing the kingfishers like more than hassling the poor wee Raratonga Flycatcher (native), which is now even more endangered. Possibly terminally so, unless all the Islands can be convinced to clear the weeds away from the coconut palms thereby destroying the breeding grounds of the stick insect.

      The upshot is, in eliminating an introduced ‘pest’, the conservationists may well have set the stage for the total destruction of a native, endangered species.

    • mauī 5.2

      My views on this have definitely taken a 180 recently, probably because what you’ve posted is a well reasoned argument. I think he’s right, if for whatever reason we stop pest control tomorrow then we lose big time, the pests take over and all those decades of conservation work go out the window. We should know that helicopter 1080 drops aren’t sustainable in the long run either.

      I was also thinking today that if a native species is dominant, say like a tui then that’s fine but if it’s an imported species with the same trait, like a starling or a myna bird then they’re counted as the enemy.

  6. Siobhan 6

    How about we stop eating endangered native species like giant kōkopu, banded kōkopu, shortjaw kōkopu, inanga, and kōaro.
    Otherwise what exactly are we trying to achieve??

    • Liminal 6.1

      Siobhan – quite right. I witness the grotesque and uncontrolled whitebaiting every year on the Waikanae river and estuary (plus small stream near by and towards Peka Peka and Te Horo. 4WD vehicles all over the place – a bird breeding and roosting area in what is supposed to be a Scientific Reserve (whatever that means). I’ve never understood why this is tolerated considering most of the species involved are threatened or endangered. Why this greed? I think it has much less chance of being outlawed (or at least severly and properly regulate) than getting rid of fox-hunting tin the UK.

      • Liminal 6.1.1

        whoops – pressed submit before editing:

        (plus small streams nearby

        (or at least severely and properly regulated) than getting rid of fox-hunting in the UK.

    • Traditional harvest, isn’t it? Tangata whenua practiced whitebaiting i nga wa o mua and now generations of New Zealanders of all races have embedded themselves along the rivers, taking theirs. Harvesting the young seems especially damaging in this instance, seeing how high the numbers, individual wise, those catches can be. Looking back into early recorded history in NZ, the numbers caught were astronomical. Why is it so hard to change the practice? Bolshy bona fide practitioners, exorbitant prices for the product, no quality controls at point of sale and an active black market.
      My call? Save The Whitebait – Catch & Release

    • Rosemary McDonald 6.3

      “…stop eating endangered native species like giant kōkopu, banded kōkopu, shortjaw kōkopu, inanga, and kōaro.”

      A five year moratorium on all whitebaiting everywhere in NZ. Regardless of the status of local fisheries…because if you ban it in one place…they’ll all move to the open zones. Ban all eeling too. Not just commercial…total ban.

      Heavily fine any twit who breaches the ban, and also put them to work on riparian planting and fencing off of all waterways.

      As for ‘predator free’…they’re dreaming.

      Certainly heavy use of traps/bait stations in the accessible areas. Extremely limited use of 1080, nationwide replanting of natives…plant grown from locally sourced seed.

      Create habitats and food sources for our native fauna…they will survive. Although flightless birds might need some help.

      Who decided the kiwi should be our national bird?

      It should be the pukeko or tui.

    • Rae 6.4

      Agree, we seem to have different values for water than we do for land, and while we are at it perhaps trout should be declared a noxious species as well

  7. johnm 7

    NZ’s worst predator is guess what!? Us Humans! We can’t have competitors for our supreme title of destructive invasive species, can we?

  8. Wayne 8

    My understanding is that they aim to do the islands, such as Great Barrier and Stewart Island first, then move to the National parks.


    The private funding won’t be an investment, it will be a donation (tax deductible). Of course the donors, if they are companies, will publicise the fact to show the are good corporate citizens.

    So the profit/loss issue is irrelevant. I assume this will essentially be a not-for-profit, in the same manner as the Motutapu Trust, which I presume is the model being used. If you look at their website they have done great work over the last twenty years in restoring Motutapu Island.

    I know many of the people in the Motutapu Trust, and they see it as part of their philanthropic duty in an an area they are passionate about. I appreciate that many Standardnista’s don’t think such people exist on the centre-right, but they are wrong. Actually Chris Liddell, shortly to be in the White House, is a good example.

  9. Xanthe 9

    Its an extension of the con DOC developed. Target the imposible, get unlimited funds. Ignore/disempower the people

  10. Morrissey 10

    We’ve hopefully seen the last of THIS predator….

  11. mauī 11

    It’s about 100 times more likely for a rich philanthropist or corporate to stump up the cash for a cuddly bird rather than a cuddly Māori or their impoverished children. I find that enlightening.

  12. Lara 12

    It’s a total green wash by this cynical government.

    They won’t put the money in to actually make it happen.

    And PFNZ ignores dogs and cats. So it’s complete bollocks from the start.

    They have a nice website though….

    The money spent on the website, staff and propaganda is a total bloody waste and a shame. It could have been given to DOC to actually control predators.

  13. Rae 13

    You haven’t a hope in Hades of making NZ predator free even with the best will in the world. Best we can do is put predator free “islands” such as Maungatautari all around the country wherever we can. I doubt it would be any more costly, probably less, and we would need vigilance even if we did magically disappear all introduced predators, as it would not take much for reintroduction of rats at the very, very least, and unless we were prepared to do away with roaming and feral cats, then we are wasting our time even considering it.

  14. Ad 14

    If as expected National don’t fund it enough in Budget 2017, the Greens and Labour should simple poach the policy idea and promise to fully fund it. The Forest and Bird membership, together with all the tramping and mouton clubs, have massive databases, and they vote.

    It’s a really simple way of Labour and the Greens doing what National has always done – poaching policy in election year.

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