/Banks Peninsula will be predator free by 2050, minister says

Banks Peninsula will be predator free by 2050, minister says

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says the agreement will allow "native plants and wildlife to flourish on the doorstep of our second largest city".

STACY SQUIRES/STUFF

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says the agreement will allow “native plants and wildlife to flourish on the doorstep of our second largest city”.

Banks Peninsula could be predator free by 2050 under a new “milestone” agreement.

More than a dozen groups and agencies, including the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, Department of Conservation, Environment Canterbury, and Ngāi Tahu rūnanga, signed a memorandum of understanding on Sunday to remove pests from the area.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said the agreement “builds on decades of community driven ecological restoration work”.

More than a dozen community and government groups have signed an agreement to work towards a predator free Banks Peninsula by 2050/

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON / STUFF

More than a dozen community and government groups have signed an agreement to work towards a predator free Banks Peninsula by 2050/

“The growth of trapping groups on Banks Peninsula and among Port Hills and Lyttelton Harbour communities shows there is widespread community support for this venture.”

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The previous Government launched the Predator Free NZ Project in 2016, formally adopting a 2050 target for eradicating all pests that threaten New Zealand’s native birds. The National government kickstarted the campaign with a $28 million funding injection into a joint venture company. 

Then Prime Minister John Key said at the time that introduced pests cost New Zealand and estimated $3.3 billion a year.

Sage said possum and goat numbers had been reduced in recent years, and projects like Wildside, whose intensive trapping has doubled the population of white-flippered penguins and sooty shearwaters, show the potential of a pest free environment.

“The white-flippered penguin (kororā) colony at Flea Bay has gone from 700 to more than 1200 nests in the last 18 years”, enabling a “thriving ecotourism business”, she added. 

Kaitorete Spit is part of a 115,000 ha area covered by a new memorandum of understanding for a pest-free Banks Peninsula.

BRENDA GREENE/DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION

Kaitorete Spit is part of a 115,000 ha area covered by a new memorandum of understanding for a pest-free Banks Peninsula.

The 115,000 hectare peninsula has a rich array of native plants and animals. Tui have recently returned to the area.

The peninsula’s indented, deep bays “ideally” support the staged removal of animal pests, Sage said.

“This community-led programme will transform the environment for our native plants and wildlife to flourish on the doorstep of our second largest city.”