Predator free by 2050

The Government has announced what appears to be an extremely ambitious project – to eliminate all rats, stoats and possums from New Zealand by 2050.

NZ Herald summarises in‘Predator free’ by 2050?

• 25 million native birds are killed by pests a year
• $3.3 billion cost to the economy and primary sector a year
• $28 million new company to identify large pest control programmes and attract private investment

A media release from John Key:

New Zealand to be Predator Free by 2050

Prime Minister John Key has today announced the Government has adopted the goal of New Zealand becoming Predator Free by 2050.

“While once the greatest threat to our native wildlife was poaching and deforestation it is now introduced predators,” Mr Key says.

“Rats, possums and stoats kill 25 million of our native birds every year, and prey on other native species such as lizards and, along with the rest of our environment, we must do more to protect them.”

Mr Key says these introduced pests also threaten our economy and primary sector, with their total economic cost estimated at around $3.3 billion a year.

“That’s why we have adopted this goal. Our ambition is that by 2050 every single part of New Zealand will be completely free of rats, stoats and possums.

“This is the most ambitious conservation project attempted anywhere in the world, but we believe if we all work together as a country we can achieve it.”

The Government will lead the effort, by investing an initial $28 million in a new joint venture company called Predator Free New Zealand Limited to drive the programme alongside the private sector.

This funding is on top of the $60 to $80 million already invested in pest control by the government every year and the millions more contributed by local government and the private sector.

Predator Free New Zealand Limited will be responsible for identifying large, high value predator control projects and attracting co-investors to boost their scale and success.

The Government will look to provide funding on a one for two basis – that is for every $2 that local councils and the private sector put in, the Government will contribute another dollar.

“This ambitious project is the latest step in the National-led Government’s commitment to protecting our environment.

“We are committed to its sustainable management and our track record speaks for itself.

“This includes the decision to establish the world’s largest fully protected ocean sanctuary in the Kermadecs, better protection in our territorial sea and our efforts to improve the quality of our fresh waterways.

“We know the goal we have announced today is ambitious but we are ambitious for New Zealand.

“And we know we can do it because we have shown time and again what can be achieved when New Zealanders come together with the ambition, willpower and wherewithal to make things happen.”

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51 Comments

  1. Strong For Life

     /  25th July 2016

    Great initiative but I’d like to see wasps added to the list. Wasps are a problem in many parts of the country; they are present in plague proportions in Nelson Lakes National Park.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  25th July 2016

      I know that there are things being done already about the little beasts,which may be why they weren’t on the list, but it’s a long, wearisome process. The geniuses who brought in Social Wasps should be tied down,covered with jam (or whatever wasps like best) and left in the middle of the wasp country.The cabbage whites seem to have recovered any damage done-I am sure that there were at least as many as ever last summer-and we have another wasp preying on Monarch butterflies. Haven’t the people who brought them in to combat cabbage whites heard of Derris Dust ?

      It’s a tiny triumph to swat a wasp and realise that it was a queen-one less nest, anyway. My dog is terrified of them-I hope that many more dogs are and don’t try to clop ! them out of the air as they do flies.

      I imagine that weasels are counted in with stoats. Honorary stoats.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  25th July 2016

        My collie crosses have both hated wasps and tried to catch them. I don’t know how often they succeeded.

        Reply
  2. Wipe out Rats by 2050……. that’s not ambitious, that is impossible… To get close to achieving that will need some type of rat specific biologic weapon: virus of some type or a genetic kill switch introduced via large dominant breeding males…

    Good luck

    Reply
    • I have no idea how they will come close to achieving it. It’s been done on a small scale but it’s hard enough accessing a lot of the country let alone killing all predators.

      Reply
      • Fences are pretty expensive. And when your talking Rats you always have the Urban areas providing new adventurous rats to repopulate the rural areas…. If they suppress numbers by 50-60% then it would be a major win…

        Only virus borne disease or a genetic kill switch will allow anything close to elimination

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  25th July 2016

          I can’t imagine that whoever initiated this didn’t think that it was largely achievable. Campaigns to make people aware of rats in towns and put bait down would be a help.

          Reply
          • Kitty. You see A RAT. A Singular rat. Just one and there will 10-15 you don’t see. Getting rid of them completely is near impossible.

            Its a big bold goal, which most pollies in Government now will be dead or senile when it is measured as a success or failure in 34 years time..

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  25th July 2016

              I know; I live on the edge of the country, so rodents are no novelty around here. There’s been nothing ‘singular’ about any that I’ve seen, they look quite ordinary and in no way noteworthy or outstanding. See one rat, see them all.

              Even if they only achieved a 1/3 drop in numbers, that’s over 8,000,000 birds a year saved and over a billion dollars.

            • a billion dollars???? from what?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  26th July 2016

              Yes, I wondered where on earth those fantasy costs come from. After TB control I can’t see any.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  25th July 2016

          Developing a biological control is part of the objectives.

          Reply
          • Yep, if you can’t have genetically modified food, go “next best” and test a biological weapon on behalf of the U.S military. How Rat-specific do you think it will be? Will we use it if it is only Rodent-specific?

            What about the poor Field Mice?

            What of the loveable, endearing Hedgehog? Are they Rodents? Or just Small Mammals? Apparently “In the MacKenzie Basin (South Island), hedgehogs have been found to be responsible for one in five predator attacks on nests.” – Doc.

            They’ve gotta go! Rat-and-Hedgehog specific but nothing else, okay Monsanto?

            It’s only a short jump across the laboratory benches from Small Mammal to Large Mammal … and from Large Mammal to ….. ??? [music] …

            Reply
          • Maybe by 2050 they would have cracked the biological control – I hope so.

            Reply
  3. Iceberg

     /  25th July 2016

    Wonder if we will be be Winston Peters Free by 2050.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  25th July 2016

      Yes, unless he lives to be about 110. Er, make that no, probably not. As my mother used to say, you couldn’t kill him with an axe.

      Reply
  4. Ambitious, that’s for sure. A new National national goal for us all to work together as one on, along with Smokefree 2025. I hope they announce a collaborative ‘New Constitution

    I agree SFL, the wasps can go too. My difficulty will be with not including feral cats and strays. I imagine there’ll be “ongoing maintenance” though, so I guess the ever churning cat population will be taken care of there? I doubt if they’ll close down the company in 2050? It will have a well established legacy of managerial troughing by then, especially with 2/3rds taxpayer funding? [It says the govt’s $1 for every $2 contributed by local councils and the private sector. Hard not to read between the lines].

    So, questions: 1) How will this ‘company’, Predator Free NZ Ltd, interact with DoC, who already do pest control? 2) What about small private or ‘community’ pest control projects, like a very successful one operating throughout the Far North (reported in last week’s Age or Nthn News?). Will these be beaten-to-tender, out-funded, absorbed or crushed by ‘the company’, like some smaller honey operators apparently have been? 3) What about a possible future sustainable Possum Fur industry? For that matter, what about the existing Possum Fur industry, such as it is? (We could add Cat Fur for all I care!?) …

    Dinner time ….. more to follow later …

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  25th July 2016

      Thanks, but no thanks; that’s enough.

      Cat fur ? Unlikely to be an industry for the obvious reason that it would be so difficult to find enough matching ones to make it worth bothering.

      Reply
  5. Conspiratoor

     /  25th July 2016

    Cats are natural born killers. It’s what they do, household moggy or feral it doesn’t matter. So a pity no mention of a cat cull or mandatory collar bells. Gareth where are you

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  25th July 2016

      He’s gone on to something else, he’s long ago lost interest in that one.

      Good luck with doing a feral cat cull.

      Collar bells can be lost or removed by cats, and some cats learn to silence them. It is no guarantee that puss won’t catch birds.

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  25th July 2016

      The cats are in charge of killing the rats.

      Reply
      • Conspiratoor

         /  25th July 2016

        I’m not so sure Al. have you ever seen a big bush rat stare down a moggy?

        Reply
        • On RNZ a while ago I heard said that cats and rats will come to local detente agreements, possibly leading to a ‘species specific truce or armistice’, and basically more-or-less ignore each other … This is scientifically verified ‘fact’ I believe?

          Reply
          • Conspiratoor

             /  25th July 2016

            This will undoubtedly occur, but not over a timeframe which will concern our species.

            On a related note, while a cat will generally keep a respectful distance from a big rat, this will not trouble most dogs. My shepherd would dispatch a big male with one quick shake and snap

            Reply
            • Strong For Life

               /  26th July 2016

              My Burmese cat Obama catches rats and kills them. He has eliminated many rats and some have been huge, but he’s is a big cat over 6kg and muscly.

          • Gezza

             /  26th July 2016

            o_O

            Reply
  6. Don W

     /  25th July 2016

    If we could be politician and bureaucrat free by 2050, that would be good start as they are the biggest and most costly pests that we have.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  25th July 2016

      Try living without anyone to run things. Do you really imagine that hospitals, education and roading (and the rest) can be kept going without people to make decisions, allocate funding and all the other things associated with their organisation ? Dream on.

      Reply
      • Don W

         /  25th July 2016

        Most things that are important are run by private enterprise, those that go out to work every day who aren’t employed by the state. Who do you think runs the food industry. The Auckland super city is a success right.? Gov’t s are experts at spending large amounts of other peoples money with not a lot to show for it. Gov’t’s job is to provide laws etc so the rest of us can get on with things. Venezuela is a good example of gov’t running things.

        Reply
      • “Dream on.” No Miss Kitty, IMAGINE? Anarchy …

        Of course, the ‘natural’ form anarchy takes is Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism (or analism for short) – a totally benign Darwinian ‘jungle environment’ – and its natural tendency is evolution toward democratic social capitalism – leastwise amongst humans – it being the inevitable ‘social’ and yes, somewhat bureaucratic format or simply, the survival mechanism or default self-preservation position … Anarchy Creates Trueness … ACT …

        Reply
  7. artcroft

     /  25th July 2016

    Isn’t this just an attempt to grab at the Green vote. It sounds great but really… seems like a lot like Trump’s wall. It’ll get off to a great start but quickly be abandoned once its use as an aid to getting re-elected in 2017 expires.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  25th July 2016

      Trump’s wall can never happen for various practical reasons. I have heard that it would have to be built across rivers, for one thing !

      This can happen. or at least the numbers can be cut..

      Reply
      • Built across rivers the way bridges are Miss Kitty?

        18 years ago Kitty if someone had told you the Zionist Israelis were going to build a giant concrete wall 700+ kilometers long to ring-fence in the Palestinians, you might have said the same thing … “Impossible”?

        Admittedly, they didn’t have to cross any rivers. They’d stolen them all by then.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_West_Bank_barrier

        “By the rivers of Babylon … There we lay down …” Oh, irony reigns supreme tonight …

        Reply
  8. lurcher1948

     /  25th July 2016

    We will be John key free soon but max will hang around as long as there is social media

    Reply
  9. By rights, pest control should already be a big industry in New Zealand, especially on the back of possum fur and to a lesser extent their meat.

    There must be other meat that can go into pet food as well? The South Island apparently has quite a big problem with Wallabies – http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/9878404/Big-bounce-in-South-Island-wallaby-numbers – not to mention rabbits.

    There’s also several types of Deer and Tahr, along with Feral Goats, plus Weasels and Ferrets to go with the Stoats – and many more – http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/pests-and-threats/animal-pests/animal-pests-a-z/

    I suspect, and one might conclude, that animal pests with recreational and commercial ‘hunting industry’ potential have been left out? Already larger commercial interests are at play perhaps? [‘suspicion’ music]

    An alternative strategy might be for govt to assist in the start-up of a commercial night-time possum hunting industry? Spotting? This could be made up of lots of smaller, local enterprises, probably for the same or less investment by the government? They don’t even retain a 51% stake in “Predator Free” to create another SOE? [I bet there’s built-in control clauses in the contract though?]

    The policy and company name “Predator Free” has been very carefully chosen then? Not “Pest” but “Predator”. It’s built-in spin! [And built-in irony?] Feral Carnivores and Omnivores that kill the birds or their eggs are on the hit list, but not Pet Cats, and not the Insects and Herbivores which devastate the birds habitats? Hmmmmmmmmm … Come in Blazer …?

    Pest control is arguably an ideal industry for people who don’t do well academically at school, and in rural places – often high unemployment areas – [stripped of opportunity by neoliberalism] – and possibly for social enterprises targeted at ‘community’ outcomes like providing employment, relieving poverty and building community? I wonder how this selective Predator ‘corporatisation’ by the government will effect these other potential kinds of ‘opportunities’ that may not have an easily determinable ‘bottom line’?

    All my questions lead to the biggy: Is this the thin end of the wedge leading to ‘corporatisation’ and privatisation of DoC? [I’d say yes]

    Finally, spare a thought for how these predators are actually going to be eliminated? Does anyone honestly think it will be local people going out hunting, some coming off benefits, earning money to circulate through low decile area community economies?

    Nope. We’re much more likely to see massive ‘mechanised’ increases in poison drops and, as dave1924 points out, virus borne disease … a “rat specific biological weapon” … a plague on rats … more irony …

    If my theory is correct, not much detail will be announced before the election, just endless use of words like “sustainability” and “committment to the environment” … come Summer 2017-18 and the Hercules will fly over … or your pet rat will start looking at you strangely …

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  25th July 2016

      Did you read PG’s link? This obviously grows out of the Predator Free NZ Trust activities: http://predatorfreenz.org/

      Reply
      • I’m not in the mood for any of your lip tonight Alan! I ‘skim’ read it and the link wasn’t obvious to me … I’m not sure the association is either …?

        This is the way to get things done nowadays though, isn’t it? Start a Trust? Big name ‘patrons’ and officers? Make a move on some central government money – or a slice of a department’s funding – promise to operate a corporate model, dollar-for-dollar, then access another local govt dollar into the bargain and probably ‘feasability study’ a triple return?

        I wonder how closely the Trust is actually associated with ‘the company’? Did negotiation take place? Or consultation? This line in their press release belies a possible disjunction, perhaps even a lawsuit?

        “Predator Free NZ Trust is delighted the Government wants to borrow its name to administer new funding …” said Chairman Sir Rob Fenwick. What? Hello? “BORROW IT’S NAME”? You would be delighted, wouldn’t you, if “borrow your name” had just been sprung on you?

        Oh, no, I see now, “He [Fenwick] was inaugurator of the Bluegreens.”

        What is the government expecting in return? Aside from votes? Ancillary and tangental benefits to adventure tourism and agriculture? Nebulous non-measureable improvements to the environment? Funny, they normally only fund projects that have dollar-specific goals and objectives. Someone must have done, or fudged, the math?

        And how is ‘The Trust’ going to achieve its returns? By doing what it does now? If so, it will be on the backs of ” …hundreds of volunteer groups all over the country dedicated to killing predators like rats, stoats, possums and wild cats.” (Website) Perhaps they intend to pay the volunteers minimum wage? Or a generous volunteer expense payment perhaps? I wonder what the trustees and officers get paid?

        It’s about the same amount as the Flag Consideration thing, isn’t it? Around $5 per person in the population … Hmmmmmmmmm …. ??? But this’ll bring us together as one people …

        Seriously, or more seriously, now I’ve got Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 and Predator Free New Zealand 2050 to feel the one-ness about, I so hope the govt comes up with another collaborative, community-building, unification, truth and reconciliation process for 2040, something along the lines of “A new written Constitution, Republic and Flag” …

        Reply
        • Good to see “wild cats” mentioned on the Trust’s website though …

          Originally I was going to say “you’ll never get rid of rats, not in a million years”!!! But instead I googled “Has any nation ever eliminated rats?” and lo-and-behold …

          ‘Canada Province Rat Free for 50 Years’ (This was back-in-the-day when headlines used caps for every word 😉 )

          http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/03/0331_030331_rats_2.html

          You gotta get really tough if you want freedom from rats!

          “”That’s probably my greater concern now: How globalization affects the rat control program,” Bourne acknowledged.” But perhaps more frightening is this, “We have a network of people in cities and towns that are contact people should a citizen see a rat—or what he thinks is a rat—maybe in a shipment or a truck.”

          It’s the rat secret police! Rattus Stasicus. Imagine if the word rat was replaced by the word “Leftie”?

          As the man says at the end though, you gotta respect the little bastards, eh?

          Reply
          • Some freedom comes at a high price …

            We should get really tough … and I mean REALLY TOUGH … on a few other things as well; Gorse, Tobacco Weed, Lantana, Pampas, Orondo Donax, Jasmin, Japanese Maple, California Thistle … the list goes on and on … Kikuyu will be the really contestable one … the ghastly stuff is probably all that’s standing between us and ‘dustbowl’ Summers?

            Rather than harvest these plants for say biofuel production, we’d probably just set aside whole tracts of EN Zedland and just nuke them … ??? No Freedom Camping here any longer folks. No camping Full Stop.

            I imagine a new combined formula, multi systemic life-o-cide fine-pellet-spray drop: Trideatholine: Glysophate, 1080 and Sarin rolled into one …

            TV Commercial tagline: “Why limit yourself? Kill three birds with one stone!”

            Reply
            • Privet … Oh Jesus, how could I forget Privet?

              Trideatholine will need to contain something much stronger than Roundup!? Privet requires more of a Laotian Agent Orange, Carpet Bombing approach.

              Quadextermiline will include an additional defoliant that shall remain nameless …

              I see the Akld City Council have ‘rules’ around removing Privet. Holy F%#k, things are worse than I thought! There’s only one rule for Privet around here, “Tear them out roots-and-all when they’re really young”

              It’s a tough world … hard … harsh … but Privet has some qualified protection of sorts … albeit from lack of action rather than anything proactive …

              ” … there is no legal requirement to remove this pest. Auckland Council does not remove privet from public land, and cannot enforce removals from private land.”

              In other words, we’re pretty much f*&ked on the Privet front …?

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  25th July 2016

          What on earth makes you think I care what mood you are in. PZ?

          I was just pointing out a salient fact you might consider before launching a full-scale rant. Or not.

          Reply
          • Oh Alan, lighten up! What makes you think I think you care?

            Your salient fact appears to be that ‘The Trust’ (henceforth ‘The Trust’) and the Company (‘The Company’) share four words of their respective names in common? “Predator Free New Zealand”? This changes nothing of what I think about the whole shibang. I think its suspect, despite good intentions …

            I wonder what the relationship of the Trust and the Company is? Charitable and Profit-Driven. Nothing’s really explained in the Topic text or at the PFNZT website, not that I can see. It’s all just “what a wonderful idea and initiative” to me. Hoop-La! Hoop-La about the horse with the inside running?

            I hope it works, but it looks potentially like neo-troughing to me. Running workshops in schools … co-ordinating volunteer groups … isn’t this all the stuff you love to hate? It’s all stuff DoC is already doing.

            I guess time will tell?

            Reply
            • For that matter, its all stuff that Predator Free New Zealand Trust is already doing …

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  26th July 2016

              That was my point. Rob Fenwick is the link. You’ve heavied your way to it at las.

    • Blazer

       /  25th July 2016

      Well in the early 80’s the Great Kiwi Bear Coy was listed on the NZX,just another in a long line of listings for the gullible to get rinsed on in the frenzy.

      Reply
  10. Blazer

     /  25th July 2016

    they will have to knock over those ferocious Pukekos,bloody nuisances.

    Reply
  11. Alan Wilkinson

     /  25th July 2016

    I guess it’s about as realistic as climate change posturing and being done for much the same reasons.

    Reply
  12. When I first saw the headline, I looked for the change in Immigration rules, and then realised it wasn’t predators we are after but rodents and imported mammals that threaten indigenous species (excludes human beings). So the fraudsters, climate change mongers, sharp money lenders etc etc will still be able to predate, a pity as I thought it might lead to utopia /Paradise Regained. Oh well back to sleep Rumplestillskin.

    Reply

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