National’s pest eradication “Apollo mission” a big con job

We said it first – for the plan to work, it also needs to target all the other pests.  Dave Hansford has the courage to say it out loud

Suddenly it becomes clear just why fully half of all our endemic vertebrate species have disappeared forever.

It’s good news then, if long overdue, that the government means to set up a $28 million joint venture, Predator Free New Zealand Limited. This is capitalist conservation, a public/private enterprise, in which the government will put up a dollar for every two raised by local government and private sector investors to tackle large-scale pest eradication projects.

It’s a declaration of war on the unholy trinity of pestilence – rats, possums and stoats, but it avoids some sensitive semantics.

There’s a whole other pillaging cohort out there doing demonstrable damage – cats, hedgehogs, wasps, wallabies, wild pigs, goats, deer, thar, chamois, and while we’re committing blasphemy, trout and salmon. There: I said it.

Few others are prepared to, because they know that if they want public buy-in, it’s best to leave their beloved pets and dinner of choice out of this.

The concern is that DOC’s dream of killing off everything exotic in this country will be enabled by this plan, if only by making “creative mistakes” causing “unintended” by-kill 

Not everybody yearns for a paradise lost. Invoking some bastardised Darwinism, they insist that whatever new world order stochastic extinction has in mind should be freely allowed to assert.

Even an MP, New Zealand First’s Richard Prosser, blowing hard into a dog whistle aimed at the hunting lobby, told the New Zealand Herald: “Our birds and lizards have coexisted alongside ferrets and stoats for more than 130 years, cats for 200 years, and rats for more than 800 years, yet we still have birds and lizards,” which only tells you that he hasn’t ventured into the bush in recent decades.

Mr Prosser is frontman for a hunting faction out to ring-fence what they regard as their resource – introduced game animals – the more paramilitarily-inclined some of whom routinely capture deer and pigs live and liberate them around those parts of the country where they’re absent or few. For these individuals, a short drive to a hunt is more important than a clamourous forest.

The first thing we might learn from Predator Free New Zealand is that not everyone wants to live in it.

And there is no mandate for it.

I also note there is a disturbing lack of a different branch on natures phylogenetic tree:  gorse, broom and a myriad of vegetable invaders.

 

– Dave Hansford, RNZ


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