12. SCOTT SIMPSON (National—Coromandel) to the Minister of Conservation : How does Budget 2015 help to secure the future of the kiwi?
Hon MAGGIE BARRY (Minister of Conservation): Our national bird, the kiwi, will receive $11.2 million in operating funding over the next 4 years, and that is on top of the $4 million the Department of Conservation currently spends every year on kiwi work. Predators like rats, stoats, and ferrets mean that kiwi numbers are declining by 2 percent a year and there is a very real risk that our national bird will be extinct on the mainland in our grandchildren’s lifetime. My aim is to turn this 2 percent decline into a 2 percent annual increase as a matter of urgency. The Department of Conservation will work closely with the Kiwis for Kiwi trust over the next 4 years to distribute $3.5 million among community initiatives to boost breeding programmes, extend predator control systems, and establish a robust monitoring programme that includes acoustic recording devices and intensive tracking.
Scott Simpson : How will this investment be used to boost kiwi numbers in the wild?
Hon MAGGIE BARRY : The extra $11.2 million of funding announced last week means that the Department of Conservation will be able to more than double the area of public conservation land that is actively managed for kiwi. This means additional predator control of more than half a million hectares. The existing Kiwi Crèche kōhanga sanctuaries around New Zealand are very successful, and we will be expanding on these, collecting and raising chicks in protected sanctuaries until they are approximately 1 kilogram in weight, when they are better able to survive predator attacks in the wild and can be released. There will also be a programme of research to implement new tools and techniques for kiwi protection, in conjunction with New Zealand’s biological and scientific challenges. [Interruption] Although the Opposition may think it is a joke, our kiwi are under threat, and this Government takes it very seriously.