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.