The Green Party welcomes the Government’s announcement that it will work towards eradicating all predators from New Zealand by 2050, but says it will take more than lip service and putting out the begging bowl to make that dream a reality.
“The $28 million the Government is initially investing to make New Zealand predator-free is a drop in the bucket of what is really needed. Auckland University estimate it will cost $9 billion to make New Zealand predator free. To make Stewart Island predator free will cost between $6 million to $25 million alone,” said Green Party conservation spokesperson Kevin Hague.
“The Government seems happy to once again put out the begging bowl to the private sector to fund what should be taken care of by the Government.
“We have real concerns over what will happen to this predator-free dream if the Government can’t attract private funding, or if that private funding dries up.
“Let’s not forget that this Government has a record of making life very difficult for the Department of Conservation, which does so much of the work to protect our native species from predators.
“Since National became the Government eight years ago, DOC has had its funding reduced by some $56 million a year on the last Labour budget. The Government can’t do that on one hand and commit to eradicating the pests that endanger our native birds on the other.
“The Government needs to have a co-ordinated and well-resourced research strategy to create a predator-free New Zealand, but it has a record of slashing such projects.
“A predator-free New Zealand is a great goal, but the challenge will be in the Government walking the talk and truly committing to this work,” said Mr Hague.