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

Gordon Campbell:
On Gaza And Burning The Israeli Flag

One of the selling points in New Zealand’s campaign for a temporary seat on the Security Council is that we have a pluckily independent voice to offer on international conflicts.

This image is not entirely self-delusional. When we did occupy a temporary UN Security Council seat in the 1990s, New Zealand was forthright about the need for the international community to actively respond to the Rwanda genocide. On April 14, 1994, New Zealand, Nigeria and the Czech Republic were the only nations to call for a forceful UN intervention to halt the killings. It was a proud moment in the diplomatic record of the Bolger government.

What then, is the current National government doing with respect to the slaughter in Gaza? More>>

 

Parliament Today:

TAIC Report: Urgent Recommendations After Melling Rail Accident

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has made four urgent recommendations to KiwiRail following the accident two months ago (27 May) when a Matangi passenger train collided with a stop block at Melling Station, Lower Hutt. More>>

ALSO:

Red Tape: Local Regulations Go Under Microscope

The Government says it is accepting nearly all of the recommendations the Productivity Commission has made on ways to improve local regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Spending Questions: Claudette Hauiti To Step Aside At Election

National Party President Peter Goodfellow confirms that he has received notification from List MP Claudette Hauiti that she plans to step aside at the 20 September election. More>>

ALSO:

EPA: Board Of Inquiry Rejects Basin Flyover By Majority Of 3 To 1

The independent Board of Inquiry delegated to decide on the Basin Bridge Proposal has, by a majority decision (3 to 1), cancelled the Transport Agency’s Notice of Requirement and declined its resource consent applications for the construction, operation and maintenance of a flyover on State Highway 1 in Wellington City... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Non-Apology To Tania Billingsley

The refusal by Prime Minister John Key to issue a personal apology to Tania Billingsley has been accompanied by an array of excuses... Yesterday though, Key’s choice of words indicated that an apology was the last thing on his mind. More>>

ALSO:

Conventions: Winston Peters On The Nation

Winston Peters opens door to standing in East Coast Bays electorate, says it's an "exciting point" and he's thinking about it. "I’ve had a whole lot of people writing to me and calling up and saying ‘why don’t you have a go in East Coast Bays’." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news