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Opportunity To Deal To Scourge Of Canadian Geese

Jim Weston, President, Wairarapa, Federated Farmers, RD 2 Masterton.

Media Statement
2 August 2006
Opportunity To Deal To The Scourge Of Canadian Geese

Jim Weston, Chair of Wairarapa Federated Farmers, welcomes the release of a Discussion Paper which will lead to a review of the current legal protection of Canadian Geese.

“Our position is very clear,” says Jim, “Canadian Geese are a pest and should be treated as such. They can be compared with rabbits, except that they occupy wetter, more productive areas with diverse native and farmed species and are harder to kill. They foul land, wetland and waterways.”

The Department of Conservation is seeking submissions on possible changes to the schedules of the Wildlife Act 1953, which determine the legal protection given to non-domesticated introduced animals in New Zealand, and some native species, such as native game birds.

Canadian Geese are only one of the species included in the review, which covers a diverse range from insects to marine species. But the Minister’s statement acknowledges that the geese cause significant damage to crops if too numerous, and that the review will look at whether the current level of protection is appropriate.

“The Discussion Paper is inaccurate in suggesting that the problem is limited to Wairarapa.” says Jim. “The problem is recognised as of national significance by Federated Farmers, as even small numbers can be dangerous if breeding is not better controlled.”

“The reality is that only the persistent, sometimes illegal, efforts of rural people fighting a rearguard action have slowed the spread of this pest. This time last year I pleaded with the minister to act to forestall another breeding season, and even now this initiative will be too late to limit another nesting season.”

“This is a serious issue which requires a long-term solution. Current management by hunting interests will inevitably lead to regular demands for wholesale slaughter of the birds, which no-one wants to see.”

Jim Weston hopes that all people concerned about Canadian Geese destroying paddocks, displacing native fauna and flora, fouling walkways and waterways, and concerned about bird flu will take this opportunity to make submissions to the Department of Conservation. Wildlifeschedules@doc.govt.nz.

*******

For further information and comment, contact Jim Weston, President, Wairarapa, Federated Farmers, ph 06 3725 741, email Jim.weston @ wise.net.nz

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