Kapiti Island Homestay Risks Island's Ecology
The application to develop a homestay on Kapiti Island creates unacceptable risks to the island's unique and fragile ecosystem says Forest and Bird.
Forest and Bird is opposing an application to establish an overnight tourist accommodation facility on the island.
"Kapiti Island is one of the most important nature conservation islands in New Zealand," says Eric Pyle, Forest and Bird's Conservation Manager.
"It is an island of last resort for some species - a conservation lifeboat. Risks to the island need to be minimised. This proposal would substantially increase the risk of pests and weeds coming onto the island," says Mr Pyle.
Forest and Bird is also concerned that this application could be a precedent for further applications for tourist developments on the Island. "If this homestay application is allowed this could encourage more applications, leading to even greater risk".
Monitoring and enforcement is a key issue too. "It will be very difficult to monitor the effects of this activity and therefore ensure compliance with consent conditions," says Mr Pyle. "Monitoring risk is particularly difficult - one single slip up can lead to disaster."
The line needs to be drawn at day visitors. A homestay operation would greatly increase the risks to Island's very fragile ecosystem.
Notes to editors Developing Kapiti Island as an important bird sanctuary was one of Forest and Bird's first campaigns. The campaign helped establish Forest and Bird as New Zealand's leading environmental organisation.