Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Hauraki Gulf islands celebrate being pest-free


Media release
29 November 2012


Hauraki Gulf islands celebrate being pest-free

Brian Shields with Ant Detector Rhys Jones

The world’s first detection dog for Argentine ants will feature at an event to celebrate the first anniversary of a biosecurity accreditation system for ferries and other commercial vessels visiting pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

Tonight (Thursday 29 November), Auckland Council and the Department of Conservation (DOC) will celebrate the first year of their Pest-free Warrant scheme.

The scheme involves DOC and the council working with ferry and tourism operators, and other companies running vessels or carrying out contracts, on pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park such as Rangitoto, Motutapu and Rakino. It’s designed to ensure they don’t carry pests such as rats, mice and Argentine ants to the islands.

DOC has removed rats, stoats, possums and other pests from Rangitoto and Motutapu, making them safe havens for endangered wildlife such as kiwi, takahe, tieke (saddleback) and tuatara. Rakino Island, which is managed by Auckland Council, has been pest-free since 2002, and is home to native bird species such as the bellbird and kakariki.

“Pest-free islands such as Motutapu, Rangitoto and Rakino are great for conservation and they’re great for tourism,” says DOC Auckland area manager, Jonathan Miles.

“They enable us to grow the populations of threatened wildlife like Coromandel brown kiwi and takahe. And they’re close to downtown Auckland so Aucklanders and tourists can visit these islands and enjoy this unique wildlife.”

“The Pest-free Warrant scheme is a key part of the Treasure Islands biosecurity programme run by Auckland Council and DOC that enables us to keep the Hauraki islands free of pests,” says Jonathan.

The inspection process looks at how well biosecurity measures are applied by the commercial vessel operators and contractors visiting the pest-free islands.

“We’re pleased with their response. We’ve had ferry companies such as Fullers, Sealink and 360 qualify for a Pest-free Warrant. That’s as well as operators with smaller vessels and contractors working on the pest-free islands,” says Auckland Council biosecurity manager, Jack Craw.

“This is a great system to have in place as it ensures the industry has good practices in place. The accreditation process doubles as an education for their staff, which they pass on to others.

“It works alongside other measures, such as our pest-detection dogs, which will be at the celebration event,” says Jack.

One of the new canine recruits is Rhys Jones, a Welsh springer spaniel who was certified this year to detect Argentine ants. These are very aggressive ants that pose a major threat to other insects and endangered native birds.

Rhys and his handler Brian Shields, who works for Auckland Council, has been working on a number of pest-free islands, mainland wharves and plant nurses

“Along with detection dogs for other pests like rats and mice, Rhys is a great weapon in the fight against pests. He’s our only dog trained to track Argentine ants,” says Jack.

Rhys is trained to find ant trails rather than nests and to find ants when they are in low numbers and are hard for humans to spot. He can sniff out Argentine ants in nurseries and pot plants or building materials that are being transported to pest-free islands.

Argentine ants are one of the world's most invasive ant species and are very aggressive. They beat out native ants and other invertebrates for food and can even kill small native birds.

The Pest-free Warrant anniversary event takes place tonight. There will be a celebration of the good work done over the past year, a presentation of warrants to those who have recently earned them, recognition of previous warrant recipients and the canine pest detection team will be introduced to those attending.

Date: Thursday 29 November
Time: 4pm – 5.30pm
Place: Seminar Room, New Zealand Marine, 85 Westhaven Drive

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Eleanor Catton Rumpus

If anyone was in doubt about the accuracy of the comments made in India by Eleanor Catton, the reaction from some quarters here at home has gone a long way to proving her point.

By ‘some quarters’, I mean (a) RadioLive host Sean Plunket who called Catton a “traitor” and (b) Prime Minister John Key who dismissed her views as being those of a typical Green Party supporter, which is apparently almost as bad.

In context, Catton seemed to be talking about the mixed feelings she felt after what she had created suddenly becoming a kind of public property claimed by the entire country and its leaders. That must feel weird at any time, in any place. Catton evidently finds it particularly alienating when the government of the day has shown little interest in the arts beyond their promotional/economic value. More>>

 

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing: John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider. The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news