Budget boosts DOC predator control

A pre-budget announcement of a significant funding boost for predator control will help towards the ambitious goal of making New Zealand ‘predator free’ by 2050.

In July 2016: Government sets target to make New Zealand ‘predator-free’ by 2050

The Government wants to make New Zealand predator-free by 2050, formally adopting a target to eradicate all pests that threaten New Zealand’s native birds.

Prime Minister John Key announced the goal, alongside Conservation Minister Maggie Barry, as well as a $28 million funding injection into a joint venture company to kickstart the campaign.

“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,” Key said.

By 2025, the Government has set four interim goals, which include:

• Having 1 million hectares of land where pests are suppressed or removed;
• The development of a scientific breakthrough, capable of removing entirely one small mammalian predator;
• To be able demonstrate that areas of 20,000 hectares can be predator free without the use of fences like the one at at Wellington’s Zealandia sanctuary;
• And the complete removal of all introduced predators from offshore island nature reserves.

“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.”

See department of Conversation Predator Free 2050

Predator Free 2050 (PF2050) brings together central and local government, iwi, philanthropists, non-government organisations, businesses, science and research organisations, communities, land owners and individuals like you.

Reminds me I have to deal to some nuisance possums. They are lot better around here after a TBFree eradication programme over the last year.

From the Labour-Green confidence & supply agreement:

6. Safeguard our indigenous biodiversity by reducing the extinction risk for 3,000 threatened
plant and wildlife species, significantly increasing conservation funding, increasing predator
control and protecting their habitats.

a. Budget provision will be made for significantly increasing the Department of
Conservation’s funding.

From the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement:

  • Significantly increase funding for the Department of Conservation.

The Government is following through on this:

Backing Nature – funding a future for native species

Possums, rats and stoats are the big losers in Budget 2018 and our forests, birds and other wildlife the winners, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.

“We need to invest in comprehensive predator control in order to save special wildlife like kiwi. We have a biodiversity crisis, where 82 per cent of native birds are threatened with or at risk of extinction,” says Eugenie Sage.

An extra $81.3 million in operating funds for predator control over four years is part of a major boost in conservation funding in Budget 2018. This will enable the Department of Conservation (DOC) to undertake sustained predator control over more than 1.8 million hectares – the largest area ever covered, and about the size of Northland and Auckland combined.

DOC’s previous funding enabled it to achieve possum control across 1 million hectares. The additional funding in Budget 2018 enables the greatest threats to biodiversity – rats, stoats and possums – to be continually controlled over a larger area in an integrated way.

“For the first time, predator control funding will be locked in. Budget 2018 means DOC won’t have to divert funding from other priorities or scramble to get one-off allocations from Government in order to do this essential work,” says Eugenie Sage.

“Both the Coalition Agreement and the Confidence and Supply Agreement recognise the need to increase conservation funding. Budget 2018 delivers on those commitments.

“After years of neglect and piecemeal funding, Budget 2018 is backing nature. DOC can now plan ahead with secure funding to target the predators that are devastating New Zealand’s unique species.”

Eugenie Sage made the announcement at Otari-Wilton’s Bush in Wellington, an example of thriving native forest that we will have more of as a result of this initiative.

“DOC’s pest control improves forest health and the breeding success of threatened species like kākā, kea, rock wren, whio/blue duck and bats,” says Eugenie Sage.

“When 4,000 of our native plants and animals are threatened or at risk of extinction, every single conservation dollar counts. This injection of $81.3 million is only the start of this Government’s investment in nature,” Eugenie Sage said.


  1. A lame criticism.

    • Gezza

       /  May 13, 2018

      The Labour-led Government has announced it will give the Department of Conservation an additional $81.3 million over four years for predator control.

      Ms Dowie said in last year’s budget, National committed more than $107 million to DOC.


      The article says it’s an extra $81k. So until the Budget we don’t know what main funding has been allocated to DOC. God, these National spokespeople are whiners ! >:D

  2. Kitty Catkin

     /  May 13, 2018

    Good luck to anyone thinking that this is remotely possible, Rats don’t live in rat colonies. Nor do possums, as far as I know. I have possums in my place reasonably often, as do many people I know.

    It was a massive disappointment that the wasps reappeared a little while ago, even if not in the numbers that they have been around in in other years. The council must have found something really effective, as I can’t remember when I last saw one on the walkway around the nearby lake, and there was a time when I was really nervous there because there were so many that I was walking through them one day.

    • phantom snowflake

       /  May 13, 2018

      The biggest factor which affects wasp numbers is the weather. If there is prolonged and heavy rain during the winter months, far fewer hibernating queens will survive and thus fewer nests will be built in the spring. Likewise, dry sunny spells in summer and autumn are favourable to greater numbers of wasps surviving in each nest, plus they will be more active and therefore more visible in these conditions.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  May 13, 2018

        Well, we had a lot of rain last winter, but the little striped buggers have come back, damn their eyes, January (I think) had a lot of rain here, but it’s been mainly fine since. Let’s hope that their late appearance will mean fewer of them next time. There haven’t been nearly so many, I think. But any is too many.

        It’s always satisfying to swat a queen wasp, or to spray a nest !

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  May 13, 2018

        The long spell of warm and dry weather must be the reason for them making a comeback. Thank you for solving the mystery !

        • phantom snowflake

           /  May 13, 2018

          You’ve mentioned wasp traps before. You may know this, but in case you don’t: They are only effective against the ground-nesting Common or German Wasps. The ones whose nests you have been spraying are presumably Asian or Australian Paper Wasps who are not attracted to sugar or protein-based baits as they feed exclusively on live insects.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  May 14, 2018

            Better than nothing, though, Mine has caught a few victims. Every wasp caught is one less pest,

            I wish that it was possible to buy a domestic version of one with a name like Vespex , You will know the one I mean. It’s not available to the public.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  May 14, 2018

              From memory it is necessary to undergo a training course in order to be permitted to use Vespex; so I think ‘the public’ may be able to use it if they were very committed. It contains a very potent insecticide which must be used very carefully as it has the potential to kill other ‘non-target’ insects.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  May 14, 2018

              So I believe, but a ‘domestic; version might be possible…someone in the paper said that the people who’d want it (it seems to come in large amounts, so would only do for farmers et al) were used to dealing with toxic substances so not in need of training for this one.

  3. PartisanZ

     /  May 13, 2018

    How will the money be spent?

    I strongly suspect a lot of it will go on 1080 poison drops …?

    And expensive pneumatic bolt-action killing traps …?

    Possums especially are most effectively controlled by people using mechanical traps, fostering a possum fur and meat industry … maximize the labour input …

    • Gezza

       /  May 13, 2018

      Good points there. Might be some detail around beyond what the release repackagers have published. What have you googled and found out?