Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says Dunedin has accelerated its commitment to the Government’s Predator Free 2050 vision with 19 organisations signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today.
Prime Minister Bill English and Ms Barry joined signatories to the MOU at the Orokonui Sanctuary today to celebrate the Predator Free Dunedin initiative.
“Predator Free Dunedin is exactly the sort of collaboration that is essential for New Zealand to be Predator Free by 2050. It will create a haven for wildlife in the wider Dunedin area and brings predator control into the city centre,” Ms Barry says.
“Momentum is growing for the Government’s Predator Free 2050 goal to rid New Zealand of rats, stoats and possums and I have no doubt Predator Free Dunedin will provide a strong model for other projects still to come.”
“Predator Free Dunedin is based on the concept of a city as a ‘living restoration laboratory’, linking research and education with action and connecting and supporting communities to restore the health of our natural environment.
“It links up a number of projects around Dunedin where volunteers are actively involved in predator management. For example it connects the Pest Free Peninsula Project, which has just trapped its 11-thousandth possum, with other trapping projects.”
“Predator Free Dunedin takes the outstanding and innovative work already being done to the next level, as all parties work together to develop a city-wide management Plan that aligns with the Government’s Predator Free 2050 goal.”
The newly set up Predator Free 2050 Ltd, will receive a minimum $6 million of Crown funds annually and will leverage these funds to attract additional investment.
“On average an extra $10m or more will be invested annually into regionally significant predator control and eradication projects and around $3 million will be invested each year into break-through research on eradicating predators,” Ms Barry says.
This new investment, when added to the existing $70 to $100 million spent annually on predator control, will result in more than $3 billion being invested in predator control and eradication by 2050.
The Minister for Seniors Maggie Barry says changes to Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) forms will make them easier to understand and use.
“Knowing you can chose people you trust and who understand what you want, who will make important personal and financial decisions for you if you can’t, gives you peace of mind,” Ms Barry says.
“It should be set up when you are fit and healthy – mentally and physically.”
“The changes, which come into effect tomorrow, make it much easier to take that first step towards protecting your future life wishes on your personal health and well-being issues and property matters.”
“Both EPAs are written in plain english and come with an explanation of what setting one up means.”
“The changes won’t affect existing documents but any medical certificates about someone’s mental capacity must meet new requirements.”
“Everyone should set up an Enduring Power of Attorney so your wishes can be carried out if you are not well enough to express them.”
“Seniors can use their Gold Card to receive discounts at 300 legal firms around New Zealand so EPAs and wills cost less to draw up,” Ms Barry says
More information on EPAs is on the SuperSeniors website www.superseniors.msd.govt.nz. The new EPA forms will be available on the website from tomorrow.
Together with changes to the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 that also take effect tomorrow, the changes will:provide options to change or cancel previous EPAs allow you to cancel your existing attorney and appoint a new one without affecting the EPA Change the requirements for medical certificates of incapacity so that health practitioners can use their own versions if they contain the required information. Make it easier for people, a husband and wife for example, to appoint each other as their Enduring Power of Attorney by allowing them to use the same lawyer. Require an authorised witness to certify that you understand what the documents are about and are not acting under duress.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has welcomed a new predator-free initiative signed today which includes trapping in and around hundreds of holiday parks.
The partnership between the Predator Free NZ Trust and the Holiday Parks Association of New Zealand (HAPNZ) will help in the battle to make New Zealand predator-free by 2050.
“This is a timely and important contribution from the tourism sector which I hope will be the catalyst for other partnerships and I congratulate them on this initiative. Eradicating rats, stoats and possums by 2050 will deliver massive benefits for our native species, our environment and the economy through tourism,” Ms Barry says.
“Our outstanding natural landscapes are the reasons why so many local and overseas visitors holiday in New Zealand. We have to protect our natural environment for future generations and international guests.”
The partnership will see trapping at 300 holiday parks throughout New Zealand; support predator control activities in local communities; and encourage guests to understand and support the Predator free 2050 goal.
“Just over a third of holiday park guests are international visitors so the partnership will explain to them why Predator Free 2050 is so important in the New Zealand context,” Ms Barry says.
“HAPNZ will also introduce an annual award to recognise the greatest contribution to Predator Free 2050 from a holiday park or park team member.”
“The Department of Conservation, Predator Free NZ and HAPNZ have worked closely together on this very positive leadership initiative. Through it we can grow the army of volunteers working to rid New Zealand of these predators and inspire other sectors to develop predator-free partnerships.”
“This partnership compliments the Government’s 2050 goal and along with other initiatives to be announced soon will extend the war on predators from our parks and forests to our towns and cities,” Ms Barry says
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today praised a new eradication campaign, ‘Wasp Wipeout’, which is removing pest wasps from the Nelson-Tasman region this summer.
The Department of Conservation, Fairfax Media and the Tasman Environment Trust launched the campaign in December, and Ms Barry visited the Nelson Lakes area today to bait a trap and see first-hand how effective the ‘Wasp Wipeout’ has been.
“Wasps are a menace. They’re one of the most damaging insect pests in New Zealand and are a real problem in beech forest where they compete with kākā, tui and bellbirds for the high energy food honeydew,” Ms Barry says.
“They’ve been seen killing chicks emerging from eggs and they decimate insect populations. Introduced wasps rip apart insects and attack honey bees which are already under threat.”
“The common and German species of wasps have found their way into New Zealand since the 1940s and have had a serious economic impact on farming, beekeeping, horticulture and forestry. They are estimated to cost New Zealand’s economy more than $130 million a year.”
“They are also a nuisance to people spending time in our forests, parks and picnic areas and even their own backyards.”
“The Vespex bait system was developed in Nelson by Dr Richard Toft in conjunction with DOC and is now readily available to be used in communities around New Zealand. People can buy Vespex online by registering, taking a short safety test and becoming an approved user.”
Fairfax Media has raised more than $55,000 for wasp control.
“The funding has provided $30,000 for DOC wasp control underway in priority areas. That’s on top of nearly $80,000 being spent in the area on wasp control by DOC. Another $20,000 in donations is being distributed to community groups through the Tasman Environment Trust,” Ms Barry says.
“The Vespex bait system is a game changer and has proved to be highly successful in reducing wasp activity by more than 95 per cent where it’s been used. A few weeks ago you couldn’t hear yourself think for the sound of wasps buzzing in the Nelson Lakes area but now there’s no buzz and you can hear the sounds of bellbirds again.”
Vespex is a protein bait containing the commonly-used insecticide fipronil that is placed in bait stations and taken back to wasp nests to feed larvae. Vespex is only available in New Zealand.
“Many nests can be destroyed with just 20g of Vespex from a single bait station. The wasps take the bait back to their hive where it wipes them out overnight,” Ms Barry says.
For more information go to: http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/pests-and-threats/animal-pests/methods-of-control/wasp-control/
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says New Zealand’s darkest day during World War 1 will be remembered as part of WW100’s 2017 programme.
“This year attention turns from Gallipoli to the Western Front. The Battle of Messines in June and the devastating Battle of Passchendaele in October will both be commemorated here and overseas, in ceremonies which will be open to all with no ballot or restrictions on numbers” Ms Barry says.
“It was during the Battle of Passchendaele where the New Zealand Division suffered its darkest day, with the loss of 842 New Zealand soldiers.”
“These Western Front centenaries are very significant to our history and are a time for us to reflect on what our country was going through on the home front 100 years ago.”
As well as these key battles, the WW100 Programme’s 2017 theme The Grind of War will also explore how the shortage of labour, conscription woes, the rising cost of living and industrial unrest heightened the tension at home.
“Long years at war had had an enormous impact on those on the frontline of course but it was also devastating here at home for New Zealand families, communities, workplaces and schools. WW100’s 2017 programme this year will reflect on the battles and also what New Zealanders at home – including those opposing war – were facing in 1917,” Ms Barry says.
Commemoration details:New Zealand’s contribution at the Battle of Messines will be commemorated on 7 June 2017 in Mesen, Belgium. There will be a national ceremony commencing at 8 a.m. in Messines Ridge British Cemetery and conclude with a sunset ceremony at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial. On 12 October 2017, New Zealand will commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele with a national ceremony at Tyne Cot Cemetery, near Zonnebeke, Belgium, at 11 a.m. The day will conclude with a sunset ceremony in Buttes New British Ceremony in Polygon Wood. There will also be national ceremonies for both the centenaries of Messines and Passchendaele at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington.
For more information about this year’s First World War centenary commemorations, visit ww100.govt.nz/national-ceremonies.
To find out more about the WW100 programme, visit WW100.govt.nz.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry today announced funding will be made available for tourism infrastructure and cultural events as part of the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan.
The Action Plan was launched at an event in Gisborne today and articulates the region’s economic development opportunities for the next five years, including a focus on tourism. Key areas for development include:Māori and cultural heritage tourism Eco-tourism, including initiatives at Te Wherowhero Lagoon East Coast tourism, such as the historic East Cape Lighthouse and Tokomaru Bay wharf Cycle tourism Further research into cruise ship tourism
“Tourism has the potential to be a key driver of growth and jobs in Tairāwhiti which is why the Government is keen to work with the region to co-invest in Tairāwhiti tourism opportunities,” says Mr Bridges.
“The region is currently developing initiatives to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the first meetings between James Cook, Tahitian navigator Tupaia and the tangata whenua of Aotearoa. The Government is willing to contribute up to $2 million alongside local Government,” Ms Barry says.
“This commemoration from October to December 2019 provides an excellent tourism opportunity and we look forward to supporting the region in acknowledging these significant encounters.”
“The Government has already committed $3.5 million towards the New Zealand-wide First Encounters 250 voyage through its major events fund and is planning a flotilla, including James Cook’s Endeavour replica, to visit Gisborne and the other landing sites as part of the commemorative programme,” Ms Barry says.
The Ministers also welcomed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Activate Tairāwhiti and Air New Zealand which sets out an agreement to combine resources to grow Gisborne’s tourism strategy and increase Air New Zealand’s Gisborne seat sales, maintaining flight services for local businesses and residents.
The Government has released its conservation and environment science priorities for the next 20 years in a new Roadmap, Conservation and lead Minister Maggie Barry and Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today at the annual Bluegreens Forum.
“We need to be certain that we have the best research and evidence available to help us protect and save our threatened bird and plant life and for all New Zealand to achieve important Government targets such as Predator Free 2050,” Ms Barry says.
“Science will play a critical role and this new roadmap will coordinate without duplicating priority projects across government and with other partners.”
“We need to focus our research efforts on innovative technologies and take the long view if we want to improve New Zealand’s sustainability and resilience in the face of increasing conservation challenges,” Ms Barry says.
“The Government’s new Conservation and Environment Science Roadmap provides a cohesive, strategic approach to scientific research. It’ll give us the best knowledge out of our research dollars, and ensure that the data and information we gather is relevant to our future needs,” Dr Smith says.
“This new Science Roadmap is totally consistent with the Government’s Bluegreen approach to environmental challenges. We are not the party of slogans but of practical, technical, robust policies that will deliver on our goals of a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, 90 per cent of our rivers and lakes being swimmable by 2040 and Predator Free by 2050”
The Roadmap is produced by the Department of Conservation, Ministry for the Environment and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman.
“This document brings together ideas that came from broad consultation on what is needed into the future. We have identified the core knowledge we need to protect our heritage and improve our environment,” Sir Peter says.
The key research priorities are grouped into eight areas: environmental monitoring, climate change, biosecurity, integrated ecosystems, freshwater, coasts and oceans, species and populations, and social and economic factors.
The full list of priorities is in the Roadmap on the Ministry for the Environment website at: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/more/about-us/conservation-and-environment-science-roadmap.
An MPI roadmap is currently being developed and will be released mid-year once it has gone through Cabinet.
Boards of Inquiry have been appointed to decide on two significant Auckland roading projects in a move which will get a decision by the end of the year, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced today.
“These two major Auckland roading projects involve an investment of $2.2 billion and are best determined by the special Board of Inquiry process introduced to the Resource Management Act in National’s first phase of reforms. This will provide a robust process, a fair say for communities and a timely decision. The Boards we are appointing have the skills and experience to deliver the decisive leadership Auckland’s transport issues require,” Dr Smith says.
The $700 million Northern Corridor project will complete Auckland’s Western Ring Route. It will establish motorway interchange connections between SH1 and SH18, and capacity and safety improvements on SH1 from Constellation Drive to Oteha Valley Road and on SH18 between SH1 and the Albany Highway.
The Northern Corridor Improvements Proposal has been determined as a project of national significance by Dr Smith, as Minister for the Environment, on the recommendation of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). Dr Smith has appointed Environment Judge Melanie Harland (chair), resource management consultant Conway Stewart and civil engineer Nigel Mark-Brown to the Board of Inquiry to consider the New Zealand Transport Agency’s (NZTA) application for six notices of requirement and 25 resource consents for the project.
The $1.5 billion East-West Link roading proposal involves the construction of a new four-lane arterial road between State Highway 20, the Neilson Street Interchange and State Highway 1 at Mt Wellington.
The East-West Proposal has been jointly determined as a project of national significance by Dr Smith and the Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry. The Minister of Conservation is involved because the project includes the reclamation of 18 hectares of the Mangere Inlet. The Ministers have appointed retired High Court Judge Hon Dr John Priestly QC (chair), environment management consultant Michael Parsonson, civil engineer Alan Bickers and independent hearings commissioner Sheena Tepania to consider NZTA’s application for two notices of requirement and 23 resource consents for the project.
“There is an additional sensitivity for development projects that impact on the coast and estuaries which must be carefully considered alongside the transport needs of a growing city. This Board is appropriately skilled to make a good decision on this significant and important project for Auckland,” Ms Barry says.
The two projects are part of the Government’s wider accelerated Transport Programme which is focused on congestion relief, supporting economic growth and improving safety. The Board of Inquiry process has been previously used on projects such as the Waterview Connection and the Puhoi to Wellsford highway upgrades.
“The decisions on these huge transport projects are critical to Auckland’s future. The Board of Inquiry process does ensure a timely decision but is not a guarantee as to the outcome. I strongly encourage Aucklanders to engage in this process to ensure we get a good decision and the detail right,” Dr Smith concluded.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has thanked DOC staff and volunteers helping to re-float pilot whales after a mass stranding at Farewell spit overnight.
“More than 400 pilot whales stranded overnight in one of the largest recorded mass strandings in New Zealand history. Sadly it has been confirmed most have died. DOC staff and volunteers re-floated about 100 on this morning’s high tide but unfortunately 50 of them have since re-stranded,” Ms Barry says.
“I’m advised there won’t be another attempt to re-float the whales on tonight’s high tide because it is too dangerous for people to be close to the whales in the dark.”
“Project Jonah, local volunteers and DOC staff, led by Andrew Lamason, have been working hard to save the whales and I really want to commend them for their heroic efforts.”
“It is terribly sad to see these magnificent creatures in this state and distressing and traumatic for the volunteers to see the hundreds of dead whales on the beach.”
“Around 300 volunteers are still on the beach and will look after the whales until nightfall. Hundreds of volunteers are set to return to the area tomorrow when another attempt to re-float the whales will be made,” Ms Barry says.
This is the third largest recorded whale stranding in NZ since data started being collected in the 1800’s. 1000 whales were stranded on the Chatham Islands in 1918 and 450 in Auckland in 1985.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has welcomed the successful passing of the Wildlife (Powers) Amendment Bill’s third reading in Parliament this evening.
The bill modernises and strengthens DOC rangers' existing powers to protect native wildlife from poaching and smuggling.
“This legislation is an important part of upgrading DOC’s ability to prevent and prosecute crimes against vulnerable native species such as geckoes and skinks,” Ms Barry says.
“Enforcement powers in the Wildlife Act have not been updated for 60 years and are no longer fit for modern purpose. I am pleased this carefully targeted and sensible expansion of the powers available to DOC under the Act will now become law.”
The bill grants four new powers to DOC rangers:
- The ability to take action to prevent an offence about to occur or in progress.
- Temporarily stop persons suspected of an offence to allow investigation.
- Seize a broader range of evidence such as laptops, cameras and mobile phones.
- Require date of birth and proof of identification details from suspected offenders.
Full-time Fish and Game rangers have also had an extension of powers. They can now require people to give their date of birth, as well as their name and address.
Failure to provide these details can result in a fine under the Wildlife Act not exceeding $100,000 and/or 1 year imprisonment.
DOC’s small highly experienced team of specialist enforcement officers will also now gain a power to arrest for serious offending against absolutely protected wildlife involving illegal hunting, killing, or export.
“This power will also be extended to qualified officers from Crown agencies including Police, Customs, Fisheries, and the Defence Forces that work with DOC on joint operations.”