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Pukaha welcomes predator-free NZ

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

Pukaha Mount Bruce are welcoming the Government’s commitment to making New Zealand predator-free by 2050.

Government officials confirmed the target on Monday, with a plan to provide conservation funding on a two-for-one basis so that, for every $2 that local councils and the private sector put in, the government would contribute another $1.

Manager Helen Tickner said the kiwi reserve was “keen to get a slice of that pie”

“It’s pretty exciting stuff because we do spend a lot of our time fundraising,” she said.

“If the government is saying it will match money coming from the community, $1 for every $2 then gosh, just think of all the extra things we could do.”

Pukhaha Mount Bruce manager Helen Tickner welcomes a conservation initiative by the government.
Pukaha Mt Bruce manager Helen Tickner

Mrs Tickner said she was excited by the government’s commitment to making NZ predator free and said it was “what Pukaha is all about too”.

“It’s certainly something we’ve all talked about here,” she said.

“The news only came out on Monday but it’s just so exciting. It’s getting everyone on the same page you know, getting rid of rats, stoats and possums.

“I think we all kind of know it won’t necessarily happen in our lifetime, but we’ll give it a damn good shot.”

Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott said the launch of the government’s Predator Free NZ 2050 initiative would result in a major funding boost for many conservation projects in the region.

An initial $28 million has been confirmed for the initiative which would “see public, private, iwi and community sectors working together to help protect native species,” Mr Scott said.

“This is a ground-breaking initiative and the most ambitious conservation project attempted anywhere in the world.

“Making New Zealand predator free by 2050 will rely on the Government working with local communities to tackle introduced predators and the havoc they wreak for native species.

“A new Government company, Predator Free New Zealand Ltd, will sponsor community partnerships around the country, giving local conservation groups and pest eradication initiatives the opportunity to receive support for their programmes.”

The programme will bring together the resources of the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Primary Industries to work in partnership with communities.

“There are some great local groups doing amazing work to rid Wairarapa of predators, such as Pukaha Mount Bruce who spend around $150,000 a year trapping predators in its reserve,” Mr Scott said.

“Our native birds and plants are a central part of our national identity and are a real source of local pride.

“They also contribute to New Zealand’s beautiful environment, which is a cornerstone of our reputation.

“However, introduced predators such as rats, stoats and possums are putting these creatures and plants in serious jeopardy.

“They kill around 25 million native birds every year, so eliminating them will provide a huge boost for our environment.

“The programme is about harnessing the strength of local communities to achieve a predator-free country, so I urge everyone who’s keen to help achieve the goal to get involved.”

For more information on a Predator Free New Zealand, visit http://predatorfreenz.org/.

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