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Lester promises leadership on predator free Wellington

26 September 2016 - EMBARGOED UNTIL 3.30PM

Justin Lester promises leadership on predator free Wellington

Mayoral candidate Justin Lester is promising to make the plan for Wellington to become predator free the top environmental priority of his first term, saying it's good for native birds, wildlife and the climate.

Lester announced his own plan for a predator free Wellington in July, suggesting that the successful eradication of pests could see the return of the kiwi to the capital.

“Wellingtonians love our natural environment and are enjoying seeing native birds return to our suburbs. As Mayor I will back this plan and ensure the Council steps up its efforts, in partnership with others, so we can have even more native birds in our gardens and return the dawn chorus to our suburbs," said Justin Lester.

"As mayor I will prioritise making Wellington predator free and instruct council staff to draw up plans to maximise our contribution and efforts towards achieving the plan set out today.

"I also pledge to lead by example by putting pest traps on my own property as part of the community effort to eradicate predators.

"Becoming predator free is ambitious but achievable. The success in Crofton Downs, where rats have been eradicated, shows what can be done when large numbers in the community get behind the project.

"Becoming predator free is great for our wildlife and is also a contribution towards tackling climate change. Predators ravage our native bush but getting rid of them helps trees and plants to regenerate and act as carbon sinks.

"Along with tree planting, predator removal is a good way to offset carbon emissions. It's win win because in addition to tackling climate change it means we are going to have really healthy bush full of native birds and wildlife to enjoy.

"Wellington is world renowned for our beautiful environment. But council can do much more to protect it. As mayor I will work hard to improve our natural environment and tackle climate change."


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