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Biodiversity Funding – Animal Pests And Weeds

Thursday 8 June 2000

The Government will spend an extra $57 million on controlling animal pests and weeds on public conservation lands over the next five years. This funding is part of a comprehensive five-year package involving conservation, environment, fisheries and biosecurity, confirmed in this year’s Budget to support the Government’s Biodiversity Strategy. It links to the strategy’s goal to halt the decline in New Zealand’s biodiversity and will also support the government’s strategic goal of protecting and enhancing the environment.

The projects

The extra funding for animal pest and weed control will mean a 150% increase in invasive weed control and enhanced control of browsing pests. This work will help ensure the survival of threatened native plants and animals and will mean a greater area and range of natural habitats and ecosystems will be protected from animal pests and weeds. It will be focused on areas of the highest biodiversity value, which are facing the greatest threat.

Under threat

Animal pests and weeds pose the greatest single threat to biodiversity on land. Browsing and grazing animals such as goats, deer and possums eat native plants, prevent re-growth and compete with native birds, bats and invertebrates for food. Possums are also predators of native birds including their eggs and chicks and native invertebrates such as our unique land snails. Weeds threaten the survival of about 60 threatened native plants.
Increased animal pest and weed control is essential in order to maintain and restore New Zealand’s biodiversity.


The implementation of this funding will mean an increase in the current work controlling animal pests and weeds. Some specific actions planned are:
• Building on the success of the current possum control programme by increasing the area of high value habitat under possum control.
• Carrying out high priority goat control to improve natural habitats and prevent expansion of goat populations into currently goat-free areas.
• Managing deer farm escapes and illegal releases to prevent new deer populations establishing - this is of concern to regional councils and the Animal Health Board, as well as to the Department of Conservation.
• Investigating the impacts and distribution of noxious fish, including Gambusia and Koi carp, and putting in place measures to contain their spread.
• Surveillance for invasive weeds – a change from reacting to well established weed problems to actively searching for new weed invasions while they are still manageable.
• New weed threats will be dealt with before they become large, intractable and costly to manage.
• Improving and sharing our knowledge of pest control techniques to ensure we keep ahead of the pests using the best techniques available.

Community partnerships

The Department of Conservation currently involves local communities and tangata whenua in animal pest and weed control programmes from time to time. Increased funding for pest and weed control will create more opportunities for local groups to become involved in control programmes and become more aware of the range of threats New Zealand’s biodiversity faces.
Weeds are also becoming an increasing focus of Regional Councils’ Pest Management Strategies.

Funding package details

All figures in $m, GST inclusive.

2000/01 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 Total
Animal pests $2.444 $5.743 $6.959 $9.000 $10.231 $34.377
Weeds $1.315 $3.249 $4.629 $6.104 $7.472 $22.769

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