Significant milestone for Pest Free Banks Peninsula

August 9, 2020 4:00 pm

9 August 2020

Making Banks Peninsula pest free is an ambitious community-led goal that has now secured significant new funding to make this dream a reality.

Predator Free 2050 Limited will provide $5.11 million to the Pest Free Banks Peninsula project. The funding will create 15 new jobs and enable predator eradication over large parts of Banks Peninsula and Kaitōrete.

The announcement was made today (August 9) by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage at an event on pest-free Ōtamahua/Quail Island in Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō.

The funding agreement was signed by the Predator Free 2050 Limited Acting CEO Prof Dan Tompkins and Mark Christensen, Chair of the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, on behalf of the 14 organisations that have signed up to the Pest Free Banks Peninsula vision.

Christensen said: “In November 2018 we agreed to work together as landowners, community groups, iwi, councils and DOC so that our native plants, birds, animals and insects are flourishing on Banks Peninsula, free from the threats of introduced animal pests. Today, the realisation of this vision has taken a significant leap forward.”

The Trust will facilitate the collaborative effort and ensure project milestones are achieved.

Prof Tompkins said that Banks Peninsula was the 10th large landscape project funded by the company.

“We now have projects established on the country’s major peninsulas, where geography helps meet the aim of removing predators and protecting from reinvasion. These are important pathfinder investments that enable communities, land owners and iwi to protect and return natural taonga.”

The project is the first enabled through $76 million new funding for Predator Free 2050 Limited as part of the government’s Jobs for Nature programme.

“Fifteen new jobs will be created in a community that is heavily reliant on tourism,” said Prof Tompkins.

While the Pest Free Banks Peninsula collaborative vision covers eradication of pests over the entire 110,000 hectares of the peninsula by 2050, the funding will go towards predator eradication over 23,000 hectares of an extended Wildside area in the south east of the peninsula as well as 5,500 hectares on Kaitōrete. These areas are rich in biodiversity, can be readily defended and scaled up as the project extends in the future.

Chair of Environment Canterbury Jenny Hughey commented that it is great to see collaborative efforts across the region being supported by central government.

“Environment Canterbury is committed to this vision, both financially and philosophically, as it will benefit many special native species, such as the jewelled gecko, which are threatened with extinction if we do not remove pests.” The programme will focus on eradication of possums and suppression of mustelids, rats and feral cats to low levels.

Possum and goat numbers on Banks Peninsula have been reduced significantly in recent years and there are many well-established trapping programmes.

Pest control efforts by landowners on the south-east ‘Wildside’ area of Banks Peninsula have already contributed to the recovery of endangered populations of hōiho/yellow-eyed penguins, kororā/little blue penguins and tītī/sooty shearwater. Tūi have also been successfully reintroduced.

Local Ngāi Tahu rūnanga are also strongly engaged in the project and working with the community to restore these sites.


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