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National Commitment to Kiwi Welcomed

National's election commitment to the establishment of five kiwi zones has been welcomed by the Forest and Bird Protection Society.

Forest and Bird has been conducting a "Kiwis for Kiwis" campaign seeking the establishment of 10 kiwi zones at a cost of $10 million a year.

Forest and Bird's President Keith Chapple said National's announcement was a pleasing endorsement of the Society's proposals and a tribute to the professionalism of the Department of Conservation's kiwi conservation programme.

National has announced today that they will increase funding for kiwi conservation by $3 million over the next two years and dropping to $2.2 million a year after that. National will establish five kiwi zones.

"However, this announcement only goes half way towards the Society's goal which we believe is the minimum commitment New Zealand should be making to ensure the survival of our national bird."

"Kiwi are still widely spread in some forests but are rapidly disappearing. We now need to go beyond these five kiwi zones and look to securing kiwi in the Ureweras and in inland Wanganui/Taranaki where major brown kiwi populations remain, and in inland Canterbury for great spotted kiwi."

Mr Chapple said Forest and Bird would work hard to ensure that in coalition discussions after the election the future of kiwi was not overlooked.

"Act's conservation policy makes no mention of kiwi and they have advised us that they would not support increased funding for kiwi conservation."

ENDS

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