Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Pests costing economy and environment billions

News release from the Royal Society of New Zealand

Embargoed until 4.30pm 27 March 2014


Pests costing economy and environment billions says Royal Society of New Zealand

Weeds, wasps, rats and sea squirts are among a swarm of pests and diseases costing New Zealand’s economy and environment dearly, according to a new report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

“Pests have and are costing the country billions of dollars, both in terms of revenue lost and in control costs. There are also very substantial environmental costs associated with loss of native biodiversity and New Zealand’s clean green reputation,” says Fellow of the Society and co-author of the report, Dr Stephen Goldson.

Challenges for pest management in New Zealand is authored by a panel led by Royal Society of New Zealand Fellows and draws on national and international research to explore and discuss the current state of pest management and the unique nature of the New Zealand situation.

The report points to research that weeds are conservatively estimated to cost the economy $1.2 billion per annum in lost animal production and control costs and could potentially degrade 7% of the conservation estate within a decade, corresponding to a loss of native biodiversity equivalent to $1.3 billion.

“Mammal pests including rats, possums and feral cats are a serious threat to native flora and fauna, and the cost-effective, humane management of vertebrate pests at very large scales is a pressing issue,” says Dr Goldson.

“Pathogenic micro-organisms, such as didymo and those responsible for the kiwifruit vine disease Psa also present unique challenges for control and management – something exacerbated in marine environments because of the connectivity of waterways.”

The Society is calling for ongoing targeted efforts to enable new approaches and technologies, and greater citizen involvement in order to protect our native land, aquatic environments and primary production from the increasing threat of pests.

“Our economy and reputation are strongly and uniquely linked to our natural environment and New Zealand needs to maintain its position for high quality, residue-free and ethical primary production on both land and aquatic ecosystems.”

The report identifies the need for improved tools and technologies, such as fertility suppression and biological control, to counter increasing pest resistance and the loss of older, now less acceptable pest management tools. The report also emphasises the need for more species-focused biological research, including population processes of individual pest species, so that new approaches can be developed and appropriately targeted.

“Research into monitoring and surveillance technologies is also critical, because early detection of pests is essential to successful eradication, which is by far the best option,” says Dr Goldson.

“There are new technologies that are increasingly being used to help with this effort, including the use of various attractants to uncover the presence and dispersal rates of invaders.

“With this there is also a real opportunity for more citizen involvement. New Zealanders are very motivated when it comes to their natural environment and could probably play a much greater monitoring and surveillance role. Obviously they need to be armed with information, and be involved early on.”

Dr Goldson says that while the report focuses on the challenges New Zealand faces in dealing with pests, its purpose is also to highlight the dynamic nature of effective pest management, including the fact that some current approaches will become obsolete.

“New Zealand has already shown it can provide leadership in environmentally and socially sensitive pest management.”

Challenges for pest management in New Zealand and a companion infographic is available to download at
www.royalsociety.org.nz/pestmanagement

The paper was authored by a Royal Society of New Zealand panel chaired by Dr Matt McGlone FRSNZ. The Panel members were: Dr Graeme Bourdôt, Dr Andrea Byrom, Professor Mick Clout FRSNZ, Dr Stephen Goldson FRSNZ, FNZIAHS, Dr Wendy Nelson FRSNZ, Dr Alison Popay, Dr Max Suckling FRSNZ and Dr Matt Templeton.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Sky City : Auckland Convention Centre Cost Jumps By A Fifth

SkyCity Entertainment Group, the casino and hotel operator, is in talks with the government on how to fund the increased cost of as much as $130 million to build an international convention centre in downtown Auckland, with further gambling concessions ruled out. The Auckland-based company has increased its estimate to build the centre to between $470 million and $530 million as the construction boom across the country drives up building costs and design changes add to the bill.
More>>

ALSO:

RMTU: Mediation Between Lyttelton Port And Union Fails

The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining. More>>

Earlier:

Science Policy: Callaghan, NSC Funding Knocked In Submissions

Callaghan Innovation, which was last year allocated a budget of $566 million over four years to dish out research and development grants, and the National Science Challenges attracted criticism in submissions on the government’s draft national statement of science investment, with science funding largely seen as too fragmented. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Spark, Voda And Telstra To Lay New Trans-Tasman Cable

Spark New Zealand and Vodafone, New Zealand’s two dominant telecommunications providers, in partnership with Australian provider Telstra, will spend US$70 million building a trans-Tasman submarine cable to bolster broadband traffic between the neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. More>>

ALSO:

More:

Statistics: Current Account Deficit Widens

New Zealand's annual current account deficit was $6.1 billion (2.6 percent of GDP) for the year ended September 2014. This compares with a deficit of $5.8 billion (2.5 percent of GDP) for the year ended June 2014. More>>

ALSO:

Still In The Red: NZ Govt Shunts Out Surplus To 2016

The New Zealand government has pushed out its targeted return to surplus for a year as falling dairy prices and a low inflation environment has kept a lid on its rising tax take, but is still dangling a possible tax cut in 2017, the next election year and promising to try and achieve the surplus pledge on which it campaigned for election in September. More>>

ALSO:

Job Insecurity: Time For Jobs That Count In The Meat Industry

“Meat Workers face it all”, says Graham Cooke, Meat Workers Union National Secretary. “Seasonal work, dangerous jobs, casual and zero hours contracts, and increasing pressure on workers to join non-union individual agreements. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news