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Kate Wilkinson

3 December, 2012

Two-day summit to tackle pest problem

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson today launched a two-day summit to look for new ways we can try and eradicate stoats, possums and rats - our three biggest pests.

Towards 2050 – A Pest Summit for New Zealand started today in Wellington.

“This workshop is looking for a radical rethink of how we view the pest problem in order to find the best long term solution for New Zealand’s prosperous future, not just short term gains,” Ms Wilkinson says.

“National has campaigned strongly on protecting our conservation assets including the launch of a $4 million three year trial to test self-resetting traps for pest control.

“This Summit is another step towards the creation of a high level ‘Biodiversity Forum’ to produce a national predator-control strategy for our country.

“Its results will contribute to the aspirational goal of a predator-free New Zealand,” Ms Wilkinson says.

The Department of Conservation spent nearly $14 million on possum control and nearly $9 million on stoats and rats in the last year. That doesn't include work carried out by Regional Councils, the Animal Health Board, nor the efforts undertaken by private individuals.

“One study by agribusiness advisors Nimmo-Bell estimated that New Zealand spends around $840 million each year on pests, and that losses as a result of these same pests costs $2.5 billion annually to the productive sector alone.

“Eliminating stoats, possums and rats would radically alter the natural and economic health of the country,” Ms Wilkinson says.