The Dim-Post

July 25, 2016

Gotta fill the cycle

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 5:10 pm

The long recess grinds on, so, via RNZ:

Prime Minister John Key said rats, possums and stoats kill 25 million native birds a year.

He said the introduced pests also threatened the country’s economy and primary sector with a total cost of $3.3 billion a year.

More than 7000 hectares of the New Zealand mainland as well as more than 150 offshore islands were now completely free of predators, Mr Key said.

In addition a further 1 million hectares of conservation land were under sustained predator control.

The government will invest $28 million in a new joint venture company called Predator Free New Zealand Ltd.

The company will be responsible for identifying large, high-value predator control projects and attracting co-investors.

It will be set up by the beginning of next year.

The government will look to provide funding on a two-for-one basis, so for every $2 that local councils and the private sector put in the government will contribute another $1.

“This is the most ambitious conservation project attempted anywhere in the world, but we believe if we all work together as a country we can achieve it,” Mr Key said.

Pretty sure this will be the last we hear of this project ever again, unless someone somehow finds out that the money has all gone to a bunch of National cronies as Director’s payments.

33 Comments »

  1. $28m is chump change. Tbfree NZ alone spends double that about every year on pest control, in addition to the millions that DOC spends ($5m a year on trapping, not sure how much on 1080). Looks like a diversion to me.

    Comment by philstewart — July 25, 2016 @ 5:28 pm

  2. Ticks all the boxes: lead story on TV news tonight, photogenic location for announcement, pix of cute critters in Ministers’ arms, obligatory Moonbeam joke, and no threat whatsoever to voters’ cats. Job done.

    I’ve lost count of the things the gov’t will have achieved long after they’re all dead: smoke-free, greenhouse gas-free, predator-free, P-free. Paradise is coming.

    Comment by sammy 4.0 — July 25, 2016 @ 6:17 pm

  3. This ‘pest free’ stuff has got two separate news cycles!
    Achieving the goal of a Predator Free New Zealand by 2050 will require a massive team effort across the public, private, iwi and community sectors, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says. ” thats today
    4 days ago
    The largest pest control operation in New Zealand’s history has been launched today by Conservation Minister Maggie Barry.
    http://www.doc.govt.nz/news/media-releases/2016/battle-for-our-birds-2016-operations-begin/

    More likely that its the same story repackaged, usually they wait for 6 months at least , but the same week ?

    And then again 2 weeks back
    he ambitious Million Dollar Mouse pest eradication project on remote Antipodes Island in the subantarctic has been completed ahead of schedule, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.
    http://www.doc.govt.nz/news/media-releases/2016/million-dollar-mouse-pest-drops-completed/

    Comment by ghostwhowalksnz — July 25, 2016 @ 6:31 pm

  4. This seems to be entirely set up for the Gareth Morgan Cat-killing Foundation to come on board. Question is, why aren’t they there at launch?

    Comment by Romance — July 25, 2016 @ 6:58 pm

  5. Interesting but the company appears to have been set up in 2013 with Sir Rob Fenwick as chair. Just another way of moving our money to a private group. Thats the same Fenwick that used to be in the PR business with McCully and he recently sold Living Earth company. So it is only fair that he should get rewarded by National.

    Comment by Ron Wilson — July 25, 2016 @ 7:05 pm

  6. I am shocked – shocked! – by your cynicism.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — July 25, 2016 @ 8:31 pm

  7. Seems like a bluegreen initiative. Dunno why they keep ’em on such a tight rein – if the Nats really want to capture the green vote you’d think they’d be confident enough to tell such voters the reason for the policy. Is covert really that smart?

    Perhaps the answer lies in marketing psychology. Lay the bait, don’t warn the prey.

    So, if the target is the portion of younger generations grown up with television instead of thought-provoking stuff, easy to suck them in via superficiality, right? I mean, it matters that it is genuinely green policy, so can’t be dismissed as fakery. So the Nats will seem like good guys to palegreens of any generation too. Ain’t stupid political tactics – just be more effective propaganda if fronted better.

    Comment by Dennis Frank — July 25, 2016 @ 8:52 pm

  8. So the Nats will seem like good guys to palegreens of any generation too.

    Crosby Textor have pulled this kind of crap before. When polling in Former Australian Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey’s North Sydney seat indicated a surge in Green support, his electorate newsletter suddenly took to mimicing Green Party material, right down to the masthead. Regular photo ops portrayed the well-lunched Hockey communing with wildlife in Lane Cove River Park, or pressing the flesh at a recycling depot. Once he’d become a key player in the coal-worshiping war-on-windfarms Abbott Government all of that went out the window.

    Comment by Joe W — July 25, 2016 @ 11:31 pm

  9. That was a mighty dramatic press release and series of news stories for an investment in the environment of lesser monetary value than a block of suburban Auckland housing.

    Comment by Michael — July 26, 2016 @ 1:21 am

  10. “Pretty sure this will be the last we hear of this project ever again…”

    Are you sure? Its main supporters are likely to come from the middle class of National’s main voting demographic, and they’re less easy to ignore.

    10 years ago, the conversation around a predator free NZ was that it was impossibly unattainable, but that’s completely changed with a new generation coming through, and in about 2013 an actual strategy and cost was discussed. (Not necessarily correct but a baseline point for a discussion that’s been completely reframed.)

    I think it’s more likely that the government’s spotted a movement that’s been getting momentum independently, and wants to get on board before an opposition party (or government) beats them to it.

    Comment by izogi — July 26, 2016 @ 7:25 am

  11. The target is now a stretch goal.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — July 26, 2016 @ 7:29 am

  12. So, while everyone was thinking about ferrets, stoats & weasels: what was Joe Biden up to?

    This has smokescreen written all over it, what on earth are you all thinking?!!

    Comment by anarkaytie — July 26, 2016 @ 8:23 am

  13. what was Joe Biden up to?

    I would expect Joe Biden has been up to exactly what is expected of him as outgoing VP.
    (i) paying courtesy visits to fringe outposts not important enough for a visit from the Chief, but important enough to remind them who is boss.
    (ii) looking to secure tacit support from NZ for the recent Permanent Court of Arbitration finding re the South China Sea as part of the Asia Pivot strategy.

    If anything, the smokescreen is to take the focus off the bungled handling of the China “trade war” / defective steel business

    Comment by Gregor W — July 26, 2016 @ 9:02 am

  14. I think the Nat Party’s spinners have missed an opportunity here – I see synergies between the housing ‘crisis’ and soon to be empty rat holes

    Comment by rodaigh — July 26, 2016 @ 9:09 am

  15. So, while everyone was thinking about ferrets, stoats & weasels: what was Joe Biden up to?

    Stoats etc are what satire is all about. For grunty analysis of issues de jour, go Title

    Comment by Joe W — July 26, 2016 @ 9:29 am

  16. Gregor W: “If anything, the smokescreen is to take the focus off the bungled handling of the China “trade war” / defective steel business”

    Yup. This government has turned distraction and diversion into an art form. But they didn’t invent the strategy; those of us who are long in the tooth following politics have seen it all before. Also says that the steel dumping/trade war imbroglio is more imbroglious than the spin suggests.

    Now something novel would be a project to eliminate poverty and homelessness. But chance’d be a fine thing…

    Comment by D'Esterre — July 26, 2016 @ 12:08 pm

  17. Ron Wilson, the trust you refer to is a partial model for the new company. They are not the same entity, and the trust is apparently happy for the government to take the name.

    This is an excellent example of aspirational long term endeavour that government should embark on. The combination of new technologies and science ( drones, autonomous vehicles, GPS, robotics, new lures and poisons,) local actions ( which the existing trust promotes ), and new strategic and systematic planning could produce innovative solutions that achieve the goal. Obviously, more funding will be needed, but starting the journey now is great. Sorry to rain on your collective misery and cynicism, but at least one person ( me ) thinks this is achievable.

    Comment by Bruce Hamilton — July 26, 2016 @ 12:45 pm

  18. But completely unnecessary to set up a trust to do this, We already have a Dept of Conservation that can do this work if the government did not keep reducing their funding. Guess they would sooner transfer taxpayers money to the private sector. As for being a new entity it seems strange that the chair of that trust Rob Fenwick and creator of the National Party Blue-Green sector, was interviewed on radio this morning as a spokesperson. Guess it could be a separate entity that just happens to have the same chair but some coincidences do beggar belief.

    Comment by Ron Wilson — July 26, 2016 @ 1:18 pm

  19. Ron,

    Some of the the trust’s objectives were to complement DOC, by supporting and promoting local initiatives, down to the level of backyard trapping. The trust has issued a press release ( available on the trust’s website ) that notes they are happy for the new government entity to use their name.

    I have not seen any information about the leadership of the new company ( apparently due to be established by the end of this year ), but it’s quite likely that the overlapping roles of trust and company could produce some common directors. Sorry about your beggared belief, but sometimes reality has to intrude.

    Comment by Bruce Hamilton — July 26, 2016 @ 1:36 pm

  20. Sorry about your beggared belief, but sometimes reality has to intrude…..

    Into the third term of this government and NOW we get ashpirational splash about pest free NZ. For $29m!
    If it walks like a duck, and all that.
    Mind you, property speculators and rack-renters might qualify as environmental pests in some people’s view.

    Comment by paritutu — July 26, 2016 @ 1:48 pm

  21. Oh, and herewith an excellent commentary on quacking:

    In too many areas the government is avoiding taking policy decisions. When it has to its panic measures are knee-jerk and quick-fix
    http://pundit.co.nz/content/policy-by-panic

    Comment by paritutu — July 26, 2016 @ 1:53 pm

  22. @ Bruce #17 – never have so many shillish weasel-words been used in a comment that’s not a press statement. Congrats!

    To Ron’s point, even if the initiative is a tremendously good thing to do, it’s not really that difficult to connect the dots between Predator Free NZ Ltd. receiving uncontested Govt. money, a Trust of the same name directly associated with Rob Fenwick, and National’s ‘blue-green’ initiative also fronted by the same Rob Fenwick.

    It’s a preferential handout, plain and simple. Like you say sometimes reality has to intrude.
    At least there will be a handy supply of dead rats to swallow if it all ends in tears.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 26, 2016 @ 1:59 pm

  23. “At least there will be a handy supply of dead rats to swallow if it all ends in tears.”

    i keep picturing that scene in the young ones where vivian has swallowed the tv to hide it from the tv license inspector

    Comment by framu — July 26, 2016 @ 3:22 pm

  24. Okay, so the collaborative arrangement of this public/private partnership thingy is revealing here. Perhaps the few journalists left in the mainstream media will also report it, presuming there’s a public interest in the details.

    Still a worthy enterprise, particularly if the sham element reduces over time & the substance component develops. Opportunity for enterprise: robot rodent predators. Open it up to college geeks in a design competition, complete with brand colours & logo. Patent rights to be shared with sponsoring schools.

    How would these work? Well, hormone-detection technology is likely the best bet. You could use pattern-detection systems to track nocturnal tree-climbing. Have animal-behaviour specialists available as consultants. Potential to make reality-tv series of the competing techies & their designs. It’s a way to bring back kiwi know-how…

    Comment by Dennis Frank — July 26, 2016 @ 3:29 pm

  25. I think we can all agree there is no vocal constituency for rats. The Vermin Defence Association is not well funded.

    The “cynicism” is simply about the likelihood of announcements turning into real results. It’s not as if we haven’t heard all this before. Google “Jim Anderton” and “possum”. We were going to get eradication, profits and jobs. Yay!

    It comes down to how much faith you have in this Cabinet conversation ever happening …

    Bill English: “So our programme of tax cuts for the election campaign means we must cut back on those ‘Nice to haves’. The Predator Free programme will still be funded, we’re just pushing it out to 2020 … ”

    Maggie Barry: “No, that is unacceptable! We must back our promises in full, or I shall resign! I am principled as!”

    Bill English: “Oh no! We can’t win if we lose you! I cave completely … ”

    Cynical? No, just awake these last 8 years.

    Comment by sammy 4.0 — July 26, 2016 @ 4:50 pm

  26. @24 – Where did kiwi know-how go?

    Comment by rodaigh — July 27, 2016 @ 9:12 am

  27. Not going to work. Please, National, do something for this country for once that will work.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — July 27, 2016 @ 11:05 am

  28. @ Bruce#19 “I have not seen any information about the leadership of the new company ( apparently due to be established by the end of this year ), but it’s quite likely that the overlapping roles of trust and company could produce some common directors.”

    A company called PREDATOR FREE NEW ZEALAND LIMITED was registered on 21 June 2016. The sole director & 100% shareholder is shown as Robert George Mappin Fenwick of Waiheke Island.
    Maybe other PFNZ Trust members just weren’t available to add their signatures at the time, maybe others will be added in the future, or maybe…

    Comment by William — July 27, 2016 @ 11:17 am

  29. And Claire Trevett wins the prize for the most inventive way to turn this into yet another anti Labour hit piece.

    Ridiculous doesn’t even begin to capture her inchoate rubbish. I suspect she has a drinking problem.

    Comment by Sanctuary — July 28, 2016 @ 8:12 am

  30. And Claire Trevett wins the prize for the most inventive way to turn this into yet another anti Labour hit piece.

    (Ref: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11682586 )

    Wow. I don’t know which side of that I find more irritating — the cheap hit on Labour, or the validation of Richard Prosser’s politically motivated pseudo-science to do it.

    Comment by izogi — July 28, 2016 @ 9:11 am

  31. Thanks izogi, my stomach wasn’t strong enough to link to it!

    Comment by Sanctuary — July 28, 2016 @ 9:39 am

  32. How is it a “hit job” for a political journalist to examine the flow on effect of mallard’s recent announcement that he is going list only? You might not like the hook but it’s a common journalistic technique.

    You must be very sensitive to be so upset by such a thing? Or is it the fact of labour policy being discussed publicly that is really the concern?

    Comment by insider — July 28, 2016 @ 3:03 pm

  33. I can feel a group-hug coming on…

    Comment by Lee Clark — July 29, 2016 @ 7:44 am


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