“This is a game changer for this ambitious project to restore the native wildlife and plants on Ōtautahi/Christchurch’s doorstep and across the Peninsula by removing introduced pests such as possums, mustelids and rats.
“The investment will allow large-scale pest control to be progressed over about 28,500 ha, expanding work underway in the Wildside project in the south-east of the Peninsula, and the internationally significant spit and dune systems of Kaitōrete. These areas can be more readily defended against the reinvasion of pests.
The announcement was made at an event on pest-free Ōtamahua/Quail Island in Whakaraupō/ Lyttelton Harbour.
The new funding, through Government company Predator Free 2050 Ltd, will create around 15 jobs while enabling large-scale pest removal over parts of Banks Peninsula and Kaitōrete.
“It will create 15 full time jobs in an area where the tourism and hospitality sectors have been particularly hard hit by Covid-19.
“This will benefit many special native species such as the jewelled gecko/moko kākāriki, Banks Peninsula tree wētā and banded dotterel/pohowera. There is strong support from Ngāi Tahu and the community in restoring these species and Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū.
“Less than two years ago I launched the milestone agreement between the 14 groups and agencies collaborating to remove animal pests from 110,000 ha on Banks Peninsula by 2050.
“So, I’m thrilled today to be able to announce funding for the project to be managed by the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust that will accelerate this work and put restoration of nature at the heart of economic recovery in Canterbury.”
Funding for the project comes from the Government’s $1.3 billion Jobs for Nature package in response to Covid-19, which includes $76 million for investment into community predator free projects through Predator Free 2050 Ltd.
Predator Free 2050 Ltd has approved $5.11 million over five years to progress the extended Wildside and Kaitōrete predator removal and control programmes which will focus on possums, mustelids (stoats and ferrets), feral cats, rats and hedgehogs.
Significant inroads have already been made on reducing possum and goat numbers on Banks Peninsula in recent years and there are long-standing successful trapping programmes. I acknowledge what landholders working with councils and community organisations have achieved in recent years. This has created a solid platform for predator free.