Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


‘Battle for Our Birds’ gets go ahead

Hon Dr Nick Smith

Minister of Conservation
13 July 2014 Media Statement
‘Battle for Our Birds’ gets go ahead


New Zealand’s largest-ever pest control programme has been given the go ahead to protect native wildlife like kiwi from a confirmed plague of rats and stoats, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today in Maruia.

“Forest monitoring has confirmed that about a million tonne of seed has dropped in this year’s beech mast and that this has triggered a plague of rodents of biblical proportions. These seeds will soon germinate leaving hordes of starving rats and stoats that, if not controlled, will go on to kill millions of our native birds in spring and summer,” Dr Smith says.

Seven thousand predator tracking tunnels and 430 seed collection trays have been monitored by the Department of Conservation (DOC) over the past four months. The rat population has exploded by fivefold from about three million to about 15 million, and is projected to increase to 30 million. An increase in stoat numbers which pose an even greater risk to native birds is expected, with the numbers estimated to grow to about 25,000.

“We cannot ignore this science and let our treasured endangered birds like kiwi be annihilated by this plague of rats and stoats. That is why we are proceeding with our ‘Battle for Our Birds’ programme of pest control that targets the worst infected forests and where our endangered birds are most at risk. The operations in 29 forests totalling 700,000 hectares have been confirmed. These operations will be carefully timed relative to pest monitoring data and weather to maximise the conservation benefit. They will begin this month and be completed in November. A further 14 forests covering 200,000 hectares are on close watch and will also have pest control operations if monitored predator numbers exceed thresholds,” Dr Smith says.

Dr Smith outlined the ‘Battle for Our Birds’ programme in his annual speech to the Rotary Club of Nelson in January this year, and at the time said the final programme would be determined after forest monitoring data had been collected. Some new areas have been added, such as D’Urville Island in the Marlborough Sounds, some expanded like in the Kahurangi National Park, and some may not proceed due to pest count numbers not yet reaching thresholds.

“These pest control operations cover a record area and involve a mix of aerial and ground control using toxins and traps, depending on the topography and practical logistics. It does involve the use of aerial 1080, but does not mean record use of the toxin. Pre-feeding, improving bait quality to avoid crumbs attractive to birds, helicopter rather than fixed-wing aircraft distribution, GPS, and the development of repellents for non-target species have enabled major improvements in 1080 control methods. Bait application rates have reduced from 30 kilograms to one kilogram per hectare. Deer repellent is to be used in the Cobb Valley in Nelson and Waikaia in Southland to avoid by-kill within deer herds that are of particular importance to the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association.”

The cost of this 700,000 to 900,000 hectare pest control programme this year is between $9 million and $12 million. In addition, TBfree New Zealand carry out another 300,000 hectares of pest control work on public conservation land that is being coordinated with DOC to maximise the benefits to native species. A record total of one million hectares of pest control is expected to be undertaken this year including normal operations. ‘Battle for Our Birds’ also involves DOC increasing its ongoing pest control work from the historic rate of 150,000 hectares per year to 450,000 hectares per year and has a total budget of $21 million over five years.

“I know some people are opposed to the use of toxins but we have to back the science if we are to save our native birds from extinction. The programme is particularly focused on ensuring the survival of the great spotted, brown and tokoeka kiwi, kaka, kea, whio (blue duck), mohua (yellowhead), kakaraki (orange-fronted parakeet), rock wren, long and short tailed bats, and giant snails. It will save millions of other native birds like fantails, robins, tui, kereru, riflemen, bellbirds, tomtits and warbles, reptiles like geckos, insects like weta, trees like rata, and plants like mistletoe.

“Our kiwi will not exist in the wild for our grandchildren if we do not act now. This programme is about backing our kiwi, kaka and kea and killing the rats, stoats and possums that threaten their survival,” Dr Smith concluded.


Attachments:

1. Information booklet: ‘The Science Behind ‘Battle for Our Birds’’
1._Information_booklet__The_Science_Behind_Battle_for_Our_Birds.pdf
2. Map: North Island ‘Battle for Our Birds’ operations
2._Map__North_Island_Battle_for_Our_Birds_operations.pdf

3. Map: South Island ‘Battle for Our Birds’ operations
3._Map__South_Island_Battle_for_Our_Birds_operations.pdf

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Labour: Healthy Homes Bill Passes First Reading

Some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable children and families are on their way towards safer living conditions with the passing of the first reading of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill in Parliament last night, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire: Home, And A Way

The one thing even more popular than an Auckland house is offering advice on how to afford an Auckland house. So, on the grounds it can’t be worse than some of the stuff that’s out there, here’s my three cents* worth. [*Up 50% since 2013!] More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: The Defence Pretence

Last year, the world began spending more money on weapons again, for the first time since 2011... New Zealand belongs to a region – Asia and Oceania – where military spending rose sharply in 2015, by 5.4 per cent. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Not Crying Foul, Argentina

So a couple of guys found to be criminally liable of environmental pollution in Argentina lodge an application with the Overseas Investment Office… in order to buy some prime New Zealand rural land. Seems that their factory back home had carelessly and/or intentionally discharged toxic waste into the Lujan river. Bummer... More>>

ALSO:

Urban & Rural: $303m To Merge And Modernise New Zealand’s Fire Services

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced funding of $303 million over five years to combine urban and rural fire services into one organisation from mid-2017. More>>

ALSO:

High Trust Regime: What Did The PM Tell His Lawyer About Foreign Trusts?

The Government stopped the IRD from reviewing New Zealand foreign trusts shortly after the Prime Minister’s lawyer wrote to the Revenue Minister claiming John Key had promised him the regime would not be changed. More>>

ALSO:

Road Crime: Wicked Campers Vans Classified As Objectionable

The definition of publication includes any "thing that has printed or impressed upon it, or otherwise shown upon it, 1 or more (or a combination of 1 or more) images, representations, signs, statements, or words", The Classification Office has previously classified such 'things' as billboards, t-shirts, and even a drink can. This is the first time the Classification Office has classified a vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

'When New' Repairs: Landmark EQC Settlement

The Earthquake Commission has cut a deal with 98 Canterbury homeowners that affirms the government entity's responsibility to repair earthquake-damaged property to a 'when new' state, as well as covering repairs for undamaged parts of a property and clarifying its position on cash settlement calculations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Kiwirail’s Latest Stint In The Dogbox

The denigration of Kiwirail continues. The latest review (based on a 2014 assessment) of the options facing the company have enabled Kiwirail to be hung out to dry once again as a liability and burden on the taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:

Royal Society Report: Good Opportunities To Act Now On Climate Change

There are many actions New Zealand can and should take now to reduce the threat of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy, a report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand finds... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news