Conservation's Low Spend On Weed and Pest Control Revealed

Kiwis will be stunned by how little the Minister of Conservation and National are putting into pest and weed control on the Conservation Estate, says New Zealand First.

“Minister Maggie Barry on Conservation is just like how Maori viewed James Busby in the 19th Century – a ‘Man-o-War without guns’,” says the Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First and whose Northland electorate is on the conservation frontline.

“To protect over 8.6 million hectares of the Conservation Estate from animal pests, this government is spending a pitiful $5.31 per hectare and just $1.64 a hectare to fight weeds.  Even these sums are a recent improvement on what National has previously spent.

“In January 2014, another ‘Man-o-War without guns,’ Dr Nick Smith, beat his chest over the so-called Battle for our Birds.  To save each of the 25 million birds, he claimed were being killed each year by pests, his government increased spending by just 28 cents a bird.

“But what did the Hon Maggie Barry do after succeeding Dr Smith in her first Budget? She cut DoC’s animal pest budget by $6.7m and weed and wilding conifer control by $901,000.

“She has made up for these short-sighted cuts in the current Budget but that includes multiyear spending that demands multiplication to make it look reasonable.  Minister Barry cannot hide under investment in seven of the previous eight Conservation budgets.

“And does she seriously believe that since 2009, a $19.7m net increase in pest control and just $729,000 net for weeds and wilding conifers is anywhere near to cutting the mustard?

“Then again Minister Barry ONZM is an expert in OBE – ‘other blighter’s efforts’.  She is such an unimaginative advocate for what’s needed, she tries to take credit for other budgets and industry spending, not to mention pushing the goodwill of volunteers to breaking point.

“Now she has a ‘War on Weeds,’ a ‘Dirty Dozen’ and an aim to make New Zealand predator free by 2050.  Not on these levels of funding she won’t.  Her policies by press release are so far out into the future that no one will remember either her or what she promised,” Mr Peters said.
 

 

DoC direct cost of animal pest control since 2008/09 (00772 (2017))
Financial Year Amount  ($000) Change from Previous Year ($000)
2009/10 $                                             23,794  -$                                                   2,113
2010/11 $                                             26,481   $                                                    2,687
2011/12 $                                             28,480   $                                                    1,999
2012/13 $                                             28,586   $                                                       106
2013/14 $                                             28,673   $                                                         87
2014/15 $                                             34,420   $                                                    5,747
2015/16 $                                             27,646  -$                                                   6,774
20016/17 $                                             45,638   $                                                  17,992
NET INCREASE/DECREASE (2008/9 TO 20016/17) $                                                 19,731

DoC direct cost of weed control including wilding confers since 2008/09 (00773 (2017))
Financial Year Amount  ($000) Change from Previous Year ($000)
2009/10 $                                      12,635  -$                                   762
2010/11 $                                      13,317   $                                   682
2011/12 $                                      12,078  -$                                1,239
2012/13 $                                      11,582  -$                                   496
2013/14 $                                      10,767  -$                                   815
2014/15 $                                      12,629   $                                1,862
2015/16 $                                      11,728  -$                                   901
20016/17 $                                      14,126   $                                2,398
NET INCREASE/DECREASE (2008/9 TO 20016/17) $                             729

Mr Peters Question (00774 (2017)): In each year since 2008/9, what has been the Department of Conservation's spending on weeds (including wilding conifers) and pests, if any?

Portfolio: Conservation
Minister: Hon Maggie Barry
Date Lodged: 01/03/2017

Answer Text: The direct cost of control for weed (including wilding pines) and pests was as follows ($000): 2008/09 39,304 2009/10 36,429 2010/11 39,798 2011/12 40,558 2012/13 40,168 2013/14 39,440 2014/15 47,049 2015/16 39,374 2016/17 59,764 Please also refer to the response to WPQ 772. • The increased costs in 14/15 and 16/17 budgets reflect the Battle for our Birds work. • Not included in these figures is the $20mill over the last three years that the DOC community fund distributed to community groups, of which a large proportion is spent on pest and weed control. • DOC’s expenditure on pest control is part of the government’s expenditure of at least $70mill per year in this area. • On top of this, the government has committed $28mill over four years to kick start Predator Free 2050. • These figures do not include the extra $4mill per year allocated directly to MPI in the 2016 Budget for Wilding Conifer control.

Mr Peters Question (00772 (2017)): In each year since 2008/9, what has been the Department of Conservation's total spend on pest control, if any?

Portfolio: Conservation
Minister: Hon Maggie Barry
Date Lodged: 01/03/2017

Answer Text: The direct cost of animal pest control since 2008/09 was ($000): 2008/09 $25,907 2009/10 $23,794 2010/11 $26,481 2011/12 $28,480 2012/13 $28,586 2013/14 $28,673 2014/15 $34,420 2015/16 $27,646 2016/17 $45,638 • The increased costs in 14/15 and 16/17 budgets reflect the Battle for our Birds work. • Not included in these figures is the $20mill over the last three years that the DOC community fund distributed to community groups, of which a large proportion is spent on pest and weed control. • DOC’s expenditure on pest control is part of the government’s expenditure of at least $70mill per year in this area. • On top of this, the government has committed $28mill over four years to kick start Predator Free 2050.

Mr Peters Question (00773 (2017)): In each year since 2008/9, what has been the Department of Conservation's total spend on noxious weed control (including wilding conifers), if any?

Portfolio: Conservation
Minister: Hon Maggie Barry
Date Lodged: 01/03/2017

Answer Text: The direct cost of weed control including wilding confers was as follows ($000): 2008/09 13,397 2009/10 12,635 2010/11 13,317 2011/12 12,078 2012/13 11,582 2013/14 10,767 2014/15 12,629 2015/16 11,728 2016/17 14,126 • Not included in these figures is the $20mill over the last three years that the DOC community fund distributed to community groups, of which a large proportion is spent on pest and weed control. • These figures do not include the extra $4mill per year allocated directly to MPI in the 2016 Budget for Wilding Conifer control. • The government has also raised the profile of weed control through the War on Weeds and Dirty Dozen campaigns.