New Zealand 'no chance' of being predator free by 2050

Drive 16/07/2018

It was touted by former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key as the most ambitious conservation project attempted anywhere in the world, but New Zealand's goal to be predator free by 2050 cannot be done, according to experts.

A research collaboration involving Victoria University says the policy is badly designed, completely unachievable and based on assumptions which simply are not true.

They say the plan could lead to a decline in public support for conservation policy, because it's an "impossible" target destined for "inevitable failure".

Victoria University School of Biological Sciences associate professor Wayne Linklater said their research shows the plan is based on flawed assumptions.

Those assumptions are:

  • Predator extermination is the best way to protect biodiversity
  • The country needs to eradicate every stoat, rat and possum to protect biodiversity
  • A complete eradication of predators is possible

The plan was announced by former Prime Minister John Key in 2016, and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has previously said it needed a "reality check".

"None of these assumptions are true," Mr Linklater said in a statement.

"Complete eradication of predators is technologically impossible, and biodiversity is affected more in some places by habitat decline and plant eaters than it is by predators."

Listen the full interview with Wayne Linklater above.

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