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Last modified: 10 Aug 2020 4:33pm

A landscape of a field and lake with banks peninsula rising in the background

A significant boost to the work to make Banks Peninsula pest free has been welcomed by Selwyn District Council.

Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage last week announced $5.11 million of funding for the Pest Free Banks Peninsula project.

The Council is among 14 organisations that have signed up and work together on the initiative.

Mayor Sam Broughton says the funding will create 15 new jobs and allow predator eradication over large parts of Kaitōrete and Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū or Banks Peninsula, and restore native biodiversity.

“Making Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū pest free would be an important step on the road to being predator free by 2050 and will support our work to support native biodiversity to revive, thrive and spread in Selwyn and to eradicate pests,” he says. “The Pest Free Banks Peninsula/Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū is a great example of how the community, including tangata whenua and councils are working together to bring about huge positive changes and this funding is a big part in helping us to do this.”

The agreement was signed by the Predator Free 2050 Limited Acting CEO Prof Dan Tompkins and Mark Christensen, Chair of the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, on behalf of the organisations.

Christensen said: "In November 2018 we agreed to work together as landowners, community groups, iwi, councils and DOC so that our native plants, birds, animals and insects are flourishing on Banks Peninsula, free from the threats of introduced animal pests. Today, the realisation of this vision has taken a significant leap forward.”

The programme will focus on eradication of possums and suppression of mustelids, rats and feral cats to low levels.

Possum and goat numbers on Banks Peninsula have been reduced significantly in recent years and there are many well-established trapping programmes.

Pest control efforts by landowners on the south-east ‘Wildside’ area of Banks Peninsula have already contributed to the recovery of endangered populations of hōiho/yellow-eyed penguins, kororā/little blue penguins and tītī/sooty shearwater. Tūi have also been successfully reintroduced.

Local Ngāi Tahu rūnanga are also strongly engaged in the project and working with the community to restore these sites.

For more information about Pest Free Banks Peninsular see the pest free banks peninsula website or predator free 2050.