Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Expanded ant surveillance programme needed

Expanded ant surveillance programme needed.

Forest and Bird is calling for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's ant surveillance programme to be expanded following the discovery of a crazy ant colony in Wellington.

"Crazy ants are honeydew feeders. Should crazy ants reach the South Island they will find a large regular honeydew supply in beech forests and would deprive bellbirds, kaka and tui of food," said Forest and Bird Biosecurity Awareness Officer Geoff Keey.

"Ants need protein too. On the basis of overseas experience, Forest and Bird expects that crazy ants could strip honeydew-producing beech forests of invertebrates - an important food source for fantails, robins and other insect eaters," he said.

"We've seen the impact of wasps in honey dew producing South Island beech forests, so we know how bad it can get. The biomass of wasps in beech forests - feeding on honeydew, native insects and other foods - can exceed the biomass of native birds along with possums and other introduced pests. If ants were to do the same it would be an ecological catastrophe and pose major problems for tourism and outdoor recreation," he said.

"Forest and Bird is pleased the ant surveillance programme is working. We argued strongly for the programme when its future seemed in doubt. It is preventing new ant pests from becoming established and that's important," he said.

"But the current programme is not enough. The nests from ant colonies found on the ground to date are a potential source of spread. Ants from the colonies may have already spread further into New Zealand, far beyond the original colonies," he said.

"We are also not convinced that the ants found at the wharves to date are the only invasive ants to have recently got into the country. Ants could hitch rides on sea or air containers to the many transitional facilities where they are unpacked," he said.

The ant surveillance programme should be extended to include all transitional facilities and other places where containers and imports are taken and unpacked," he said.

"The Government also needs to find out where these ants came from. Surveillance is a 'mopping-up' process after pre border and border controls have failed to prevent incursions so it is important that lessons about our border and pre-border controls can be drawn from the discovery of new pests. This should result in improvements in New Zealand's pre-border and border controls," he said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news