Local conservation projects could be in for a major boost with the launch of Predator Free NZ 2050, says local MP Barbara Kuriger.
This week the Government announced an initial $28 million for the programme, which will see public, private, iwi and community sectors working together to help protect our native species.
“This is a ground-breaking initiative and the most ambitious conservation project attempted anywhere in the world,” says Barbara Kuriger.
“Making New Zealand predator free by 2050 will rely on the Government working with local communities to tackle introduced predators and the havoc they wreak for native species.
“A new Government company, Predator Free New Zealand Ltd, will sponsor community partnerships around the country, giving local conservation groups and pest eradication initiatives the opportunity to receive support for their programmes.”
The programme will bring together the resources of the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Primary Industries to work in partnership with local communities.
“There are some great local groups doing amazing work to rid areas across all of Taranaki and the King Country of predators. Between community groups such as the Eastern Taranaki Environment Trust, Kiwi for Kiwi, the Native Forest Restoration Trust, and of course our Regional Councils and Department of Conservation, there is already a wide range of activity underway.
“Our native birds and plants are a central part of our national identity and are a real source of local pride. They also contribute to New Zealand’s beautiful environment, which is a cornerstone of our reputation.
“However, introduced predators such as rats, stoats and possums are putting these creatures and plants in serious jeopardy. They kill around 25 million native birds every year, so eliminating them will provide a huge boost for our environment.
“Ridding New Zealand of predators is also expected to provide major benefits for New Zealand’s farming, research and technology sectors.”
As all the technology to achieve a predator-free New Zealand doesn’t yet exist, scientific development will play a key role in the programme. Meanwhile, possums and ferrets are main carriers of the destructive disease bovine TB, so eradicating them will provide a boost for cattle and deer farmers.
“The programme is about harnessing the strength of local communities to achieve a predator-free country, so I urge everyone who’s keen to help achieve the goal to get involved,” said Kuriger.
For more information on a Predator Free New Zealand, visit http://predatorfreenz.org/.