What are the top-polling political parties thinking and saying about Predator Free 2050? We reached out to them and this is what they had to say.
The ACT party recognises the challenges posed by predators to New Zealand’s natural and agricultural environments. While they acknowledge the current dependency on 1080, especially in isolated areas, they advocate for seeking alternatives in more accessible regions.
They support funding for research into alternative methods under the Predator Free 2050 framework, emphasising innovative trapping, non-toxic solutions, deer repellents, and the exploration of genetic technologies.
ACT recognises the significant threat pests like rats, mice, possums and mustelids pose to our native flora and fauna and to our agriculture sector. 1080 is currently the main tool for controlling pests and that use of 1080 in some remote high country and very isolated areas may be unavoidable. But in areas where there is relatively easy access for hunting, ACT believes that alternatives targeted to particular pests using innovative technologies should be sought where possible. We support funding research into 1080 alternatives through Predator Free 2050, including trapping innovations, non-toxic alternatives and deer repellent. This has to include allowing new technologies, including genetic technologies.
The Green Party firmly endorses the Predator Free 2050 initiative, and is committed to leveraging innovation in predator control; they envision New Zealand as a forerunner in this realm.
Recognising Aotearoa’s unique ecosystems and indigenous species as invaluable, one of their priorities is to increase funding and support for Predator Free 2050, including reviewing and continuing the Jobs for Nature programme.
The Green Party emphasises immediate restorative actions underpinned by comprehensive policies, including reforming wildlife laws; expanding natural habitats; supporting indigenous biodiversity preservation; instituting global biodiversity targets, and dedicating visitor levies to conservation efforts.
Supporting nature to thrive is central to our Green kaupapa, alongside supporting people to thrive. The Green Party has always been committed to protecting our precious native plants and animals for generations to come, and fully supports the Predator Free 2050 goal.
We congratulate the Predator Free Trust for its leadership and co-ordination of community effort to help achieve the goal of Aotearoa being free of possums, rats and stoats by 2050.
The Predator Free 2050 Strategy was launched in 2020 by Green Minister for Conservation, Hon Eugenie Sage. This strategy brought the vision for a Predator Free Aotearoa to life by setting out a structure to achieve the goal by 2050, and an action plan outlining what needs to be done in those first five years. Budget 2018 provided increased funding for Predator Free NZ Ltd to enable more landscape-scale projects to be funded. The $1.2 billion Jobs for Nature programme (Kaimahi for Nature in terms of the $488 million of funding available to the Department of Conservation) as part of the Covid 19 Recovery package was a Green Party initiative. It has helped fund many trapping and pest control initiatives and monitoring work around the country as well as providing many with practical training and skills and an opportunity to work with nature.
The Green Party remains committed to the Predator Free 2050 Strategy and the goal – one of our election 2023 priorities is to increase funding and support for Predator Free 2050; for weed and pest control including for Rāukumara Pae Maunga, and to ensure conservation values guide control of browsing species such as deer and tahr. The Strategy is due to be reviewed next year and the Green Party look forward to public submissions and scientific advice informing any updating and expansion. The Greens support national cat management legislation to require micro-chipping and neutering of cats (with exception for cats cared for by registered breeders) to ensure every cat is a wanted and cared for cat. Good science should inform whether the Strategy is extended to include other pests such as feral cats.
The Greens recognise the economic, as well as cultural and ecological benefits of working to achieve the Strategy’s goal. The research, innovations and learnings occurring in the development and use of new toxins, lures, traps, the bait deployment methods, use of artificial intelligence, field cameras, drones, and landscape scale control can build our reputation as a leader in predator control and eradication. New tools and technology can generate export markets.
Aotearoa is home to natural taonga found nowhere else in the world – our land, forests, beaches, and oceans and the indigenous plants and wildlife found there. The Green Party knows that the mauri and health of the natural world is crucial to the health and wellbeing of our people, our climate, culture, and our communities. We will prioritise action to protect our moana and indigenous ecosystems so they can regenerate and flourish. The time is now for action to restore our rivers, oceans, forests and wildlife to health for the benefit of everyone, now and in the future.
We continue to push for a greater focus in biosecurity work on the protection of indigenous species and ecosystems from invasive exotic species, on land and in the ocean.
- Reform the Wildlife Act to make it more effective and the Reserves Act including to give effect to te Tiriti o Waitangi.
- Ban new mining on conservation land, including stewardship land.
- Commit to doubling the extent of natural wetlands by 2050, including helping landowners identify where wetlands can be restored to provide nature-based solutions to flooding.
- Provide financial recognition for protecting and enhancing indigenous biodiversity on private land, including targeted support for Māori landowners to be able to access the scheme.
- Increase funding and support for the Predator Free 2050 goal, weed and pest control, including for Rāukumara Pae Maunga, and ensure conservation values guide control of browsing species such as deer and tahr.
- Review and continue funding for Jobs for Nature –Mahi mō te Taiao which has invested in community and iwi and hāpu-led conservation across the motu.
- Work with Ngāi Tahu to eradicate mice, pigs and cats on the sub-Antarctic Maukahuka Auckland Islands.
- Implement global biodiversity targets in domestic legislation.
- Ringfence all proceeds of the visitor levy for conservation and biodiversity projects
The Labour party emphasises the importance of pest management to safeguard New Zealand’s unique wildlife and is committed to refreshing the Predator Free 2050 Strategy.
They pledge to enhance the Jobs for Nature programme, overhaul the Wildlife Act and introduce a biodiversity credit system to encourage landowners to protect indigenous species. They will also explore opportunities to improve predator control practices and ensure they have the greatest impact possible on halting biodiversity decline.
Pest management is a key tool to protect our wildlife, and we must continue cracking down on the animals that are destroying our native flora and fauna. We are also focused on eradicating the diseases having a devastating impact on our most precious trees.
A re-elected Labour government will:
- Refresh the Predator Free 2050 Strategy, including prioritising on strategically important areas where we can demonstrate success and learn from it.
- Provide a nationally coordinated, long-term approach to the management of kauri dieback disease through a kauri dieback National Pest Management Plan.
- Review pesticide and herbicide regulations in the light of emerging sciences, explore opportunities to improve pest control practices, and ensure they have the greatest impact possible on halting biodiversity decline.
Labour backs nature, and that is why we made the largest investment in nature, expanding our ability to protect our conservation land and native plants and wildlife, and maintain the huts and tracks that make our great outdoors accessible to all and a world-leading tourism experience.
We have launched Te Mana o te Taiao – Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2020, to guide our efforts to protect our unique biodiversity. We created thousands of nature-based jobs through the successful Jobs for Nature programme, which helped get communities through COVID and simultaneously helped nature and connecting communities. Now’s not the time to stop.
A re-elected Labour government will:
- Continue the successful Jobs for Nature programme, with a renewed focus on achieving biodiversity outcomes and nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, including native afforestation and wetlands.
- Repeal and replace the 70-year-old Wildlife Act, which currently hinders our ability to protect and rejuvenate nature.
- Introduce a biodiversity credit system to incentivise and reward landowners for protecting New Zealand’s indigenous flora and fauna.
- Conservation land is set aside to protect our biodiversity, natural and heritage spaces; mining damages the environment and kills wildlife and has no place on conservation land.
National is committed to the success of Predator Free 2050 and the safeguarding of native species, emphasising the vital role of community groups and volunteers. Ensuring that they receive ongoing support from the government is paramount to the realisation of a predator free New Zealand.
Recognising the potential of advancements in AI and innovative technologies, the party is keen to leverage these tools to improve monitoring, eradication, and data collection for the programme.
National is strongly committed to ensuring the protection of our native species and the success of Predator Free 2050. Community groups and volunteers are at the forefront of important control work. Ensuring that they receive ongoing support from the government is paramount to the realisation of a predator free New Zealand.
We are enthusiastic about the latest advancements in AI and other innovative technologies that offer opportunities to greatly enhance the efficiency of monitoring, eradication, and data collection for the programme. Predator Free is an ambitious, yet achievable goal, but we understand that success will require innovation. As such, we are determined to continually explore, develop, and incorporate cutting-edge tools and technologies into our control initiatives.
New Zealand First
As of 2 October, the New Zealand First party has not responded to the request for comment.
Te Pāti Māori
As of 2 October, Te Pāti Māori has not responded to the request for comment.
For more information on political parties and their policies visit Policy NZ (External site)