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Minister orders review of some wildlife protection

10am, 31 July 2006

Minister orders review of some wildlife protection

The degree of protection the law provides certain animal species in New Zealand is to be reviewed, Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced today.

The Department of Conservation has formulated a discussion paper for consultation 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.

"There are a number of species listed in the schedules of the Wildlife Act which many groups feel have too much or too little protection. We have reached the point where we need to resolve these issues," Mr Carter said.

"For example, the Canada Goose, an introduced game species, enjoys some protection but can cause significant damage to crops if it gets too numerous. The review will look at whether its level of protection is appropriate.

"Conversely, a great many threatened native insects receive no protection at all under the law despite the fact there is a developing international trade in them. The review will consider whether some limited legal protection should be extended to these insects."

Mr Carter said the review would not touch the absolute protection given to the vast majority of New Zealand's native bird, reptile or frog species, such as the kakapo, kiwi or tuatara.

"This review is predominantly about what can and can't be done with native and introduced species that are not absolutely protected," Mr Carter said.

"For example, the spur-winged plover introduced itself from Australia and has become a leading cause of bird-strike incidents on commercial aircraft. How much protection does it deserve?"

DOC would consult with affected parties in the review including farmers, regional councils, Fish and Game councils, government agencies, and other interested groups, such as insect collectors, he said.

Copies of the discussion document can be obtained from www.doc.govt.nz

ENDS

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