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Budget 2020: Funding for pest control aims to rein in growing wallaby population

Farmers and forestry workers are set to benefit from a $315 million package funding predator control across the country.

The support includes $27 million for the Ministry for Primary Industries to get populations of wallabies under control in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Canterbury and Otago; $40 million for Land Information NZ to undertake pest and weed control in rivers on Crown land; and $100 million for jobs to help control wilding pines. 

A further $148 million will go to the Department of Conservation to ramp up pest control and eradication and to work with Iwi to prevent the collapse of North Island forests.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said the funding was an attempt at "supercharging" the efforts to return native bush to health.
“Supporting iwi efforts to save iconic North Island forests from collapse because of the impacts of possums, pigs and deer is crucial to helping nature and the climate," Sage said.
"Much needed pest and weed control led by Land Information New Zealand will be done on Crown land in South Island riverbeds and of aquatic weeds in iconic lakes such as Lake Wanaka."
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the funding to fight the spread of wallabies populations was necessary to protect agricultural and forestry assets.
"They are a growing threat to farmers because they compete with livestock for food. Three Bennett’s wallabies can eat the equivalent of one 50kg sheep. They can also destroy agricultural crops and plantation forestry and damage fences," O'Connor said.
"Wallaby populations are spreading and increasing rapidly in several regions, which is creating additional pressures for agriculture, forestry and conservation. This initiative will build on existing efforts to knock the wallaby population back."
Wallabies currently cost the country $28 million a year in economic losses, but according to a Ministry for Primary Industries estimate last year, that figure could skyrocket to $84 billion if the spread isn't stopped.
The $100 million funding package to tackle wilding pines was part of a 10-year programme aimed at protecting farmland, water availability and biodiversity.
The programme was hoped to provide jobs for around 600 people, O'Connor said.

DOC Strategy update - Moving towards predator freedom from 2020 to 2050

Predator Free 2050 is about working together to create strong ecosystems that support native species to flourish and in so doing, enhance our culture and wellbeing. Achieving this involves a broad range of work to:

- motivate people and resources,
- innovate tools, methods and people engagement, and
- accelerate progress across New Zealand’s landscapes.

Knowledge from iwi, whānau, hapū, experts and people involved in the movement, formed the basis of the strategy for 2050. Alongside it is an action plan, that maps the milestones for the first five years.

Read the strategy:
in English - Towards a predator free New Zealand (PDF, 1,521K) (opens in new window)
in Te Reo - Te Anga Whakamua Kia Aotearoa Kaikonihi-Kore (PDF, 1,930K) 

Read the 5-year Action Plan | He Māhere Rautaki Whakakore Konihi (PDF, 1,253K) 

TV, Radio & Video

- A 2 min news clip from TVNZ on tutu, a native plant, a potential alternative to 1080 poison used to target rats. February 2020.

- A 2 min news clip from TVNZ, on Kakī release in the MacKenzie basin and the additional predator measures undertaken to protect the birds. August 2019.

- A 20 min video from TVNZ, as featured in their SUNDAY program, discusses current status of Predator suppression activities in fighting a Mega Mast situation. June 2019.

- Forest & Bird conference June 2019: Kevin Hague closing address, 28 min youtube video. 

- Radio NZ article: 'Mega mast' prompts biggest ever DOC 1080 drops, Jan 2019.

- Predator Free Wellington gets $7.6m funding boost. 7 Sept 2020.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage’s announced a major funding injection for Wellington’s predator-free vision on Monday. The additional $7.6m investment over the next five years was expected to create 42 new jobs....

- Cameras, peanut butter and 'Disneyland for rats' could finalise eradication from Miramar.  20 July 2020

Predator Free Wellington (PFW) has declared two large urban areas in Miramar Peninsula “rat free” after months of trapping, tracking and now filming the rats.

- 6 Kea part of Conservation Trust study group found dead near Wānaka, following an aerial 1080 predator control operation in Otago. March 2020.

Related articles from 2019 and 2009;

- Wild weather puts dent in Arthur's Pass mouse plague. December 2019.

- Miramar likely to become first predator-free urban area in the world by New Year. November 2019.

- Hundreds of dead rats on Buller beach following heavy rain. November 2019

- Hedgehogs and mustelids a big menace in the Mackenzie Basin. September 2019.

- Tūi are taking over Hamilton with a 25-fold increase in counts of the native birds. August 2019.  

- Natureland Tuatara died from secondary rat poisoning. July 2019. 

- St Heliers rats: Pests burrowing under boardwalk and living in bus stop roof. July 2019.

- Aerial 1080 to drop in lower South Island. July 2019.


- Two related issues; Monster rats' in Wellington the size of small possums and Mt Albert infested with rats, note first article contains short 45 sec video. June 2019.

- DOC to launch huge predator control programme in response to 'mega mast’, contains short 90 sec video. April 2019.

NZ Herald

- Hastings dog owner calls for compulsory leaflet drops after suspicion her pets ate Pindone. 14 August 2020.

A Hastings orchardist whose two dogs ate poison while off-leash .......   (paid access) see following for free access to story;

DNA breakthroughs bad news for NZ's stoats and rats   8 July 2020

They're two of nature's greatest killers, massacring millions of cherished native birds each year. But now that scientists know their DNA secrets of the stoat and the ship rat, they've got a powerful new codebook to use against them.

- Not all heroes wear capes': Truckie reunited with kiwi he rescued from a stoat   14 June 2020.

A truckie who jumped down from his cab to rescue a kiwi from the jaws of a stoat in a remote part of north Taranaki last year..............

- Six dead kea: Birds likely died from 1080, says DoC. A Massey University post-mortem has found six kea in the Matukituki Valley of the Aspiring National Park ''are likely'' to have died from 1080 toxin.    12 March 2020.

- NZ's great pest-free quest: can we get there? The Predator Free 2050 strategy, sets out a basic structure for the ambitious mission, while an accompanying action plan focuses on work for the next five years.   9 March 2020.

- Why tiny mice pose a big headache for NZ's war on pests. January 2020

- Rats galore: Rodents run riot .... December 2019

- Dog owners warned after potential poisoned rats wash up on beaches. November 2019.

- New Zealand's big pest bust: how do we kill the last survivors ? October 2019.

- Man giving away 300 traps at Napier Soundshell this weekend in bid to make Hawke's Bay predator free. September 2019.

- 88 cats euthanised by Auckland Council since March - the culling of cats found without microchips in "ecologically sensitive areas" of the Auckland region. August 2019.

- Record rat numbers in Waitākere Ranges raise fears for kōkako. August 2019. 

- Russell campground top predator-free spot. August 2019.

- Climate change's 'thermal squeeze' - predators and climate change - hurting our birds. July 2019.

- Brazen cat-sized rodents causing headaches for Titirangi residents, 2 stories from June 2019.   

- NZ's natural born killers: Inside our war on stoats. June 2018.



DOC is the Government agency charged with conserving New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage.

DOC's vision is for New Zealand to be the greatest living space on Earth | Kāore he wāhi i tua atu i a Aotearoa, hei wahi noho i te ao.

Visit their website below to find out more;

DOC have also published this very useful guide titled ' A Practical Guide to Trapping' , October 2019

Predator Free 2050

Predator Free 2050 Limited is a Crown-owned, charitable company established to help deliver the New Zealand government’s ambitious goal of eradicating possums, stoats and rats by 2050.

PF2050 provides co-funding to enable predator control and eradication projects at large landscape scale and the breakthrough science needed to underpin them.

Forest & Bird

Forest & Bird is New Zealand’s leading independent conservation organisation — protecting wildlife and wild places, on land and in the sea.

Ospri NZ

OSPRI is a partnership between primary industries and the government, and manages two national programmes – NAIT and TBfree. NAIT provides the national animal identification and traceability system and TBfree aims to eradicate bovine TB from New Zealand.

Bionet NZ

Bionet connects information about pests and disease in New Zealand in one place. 

The Bionet website was funded to provide best practice biosecurity information for all New Zealanders by connecting information across the biosecurity system. The aim, in support of the government’s Biosecurity 2025 initiative, is to grow New Zealand’s capability in biosecurity, to help protect our country from invasive pests and diseases and to connect together professionals working in the pest management space.


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