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

'Tea Break Bill' Passes: Gordon Campbell On Bad Labour Laws And Poor Safety

By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port owners.

The Port of Tauranga for instance, is expecting its current full-year profit to be between $78 million and $83 million and other ports are enjoying similar boom times – but they are also highly dangerous places for the people who work on or around the port premises. At the Port of Tauranga, there have been 26 serious accidents since 2011, and two deaths. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

No Charges: Outcome Of Operation Clover Investigation

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area... More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF Report: NZ Cautioned On "Stagnating" Child Poverty

An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession. More>>

ALSO:

Funding Report: Two Pathways For Transport In Auckland

Commissioned by Auckland Council, the group was asked to investigate two possible pathways for raising $300 million per year ($12 billion over 30 years) to pay for the improvements needed to help fix Auckland’s transport system. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Equal Pay Win In Court Of Appeal

CTU: The Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Finishing Line, And Amazon’s Woes

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny… More>>

ALSO:

TV3 Video: Three Die On Roads Over Labour Weekend

The official holiday period ended at 6am Tuesday, with three deaths on the roads during the Labour Day weekend. More>>

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news