Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith is hailing today’s pest control operation in the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary as a win for the survival of New Zealand’s native birds.

“The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust has fought long and hard for today’s pest control operation. It has had to go to court three times as a result of action by the Brook Valley Community Trust to try to stop it, and three times the court has backed the Sanctuary Trust,” Dr Smith says.

“The science is clear that the only way birds like kiwi, kokako, kea and kaka will survive is to effectively control the pests that have decimated their populations. I can appreciate people’s angst at killing rats, stoats and possums but every year these pests brutally kill 25 million native birds.

“It’s a credit to Sanctuary Trust members that they have persevered through these court cases and vandalism of the sanctuary to carry out today’s operation. They have toiled for 15 years, raising more than $5 million and spending thousands of hours volunteering to realise their vision, and I commend them for their efforts.

“I wish the sanctuary every success with this challenging operation. It is a huge technical challenge to successfully eradicate every single rat, stoat and possum. If we can successfully get through this controversial phase, we will soon as a community be able to share the joy of reintroducing birds to Nelson’s backyard that have been absent for a century.”

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