Entrepreneur wants Stewart Island pest-free
Tue, 14 Aug 2012 4:07p.m.
By Dave Williams
Entrepreneur and environmental campaigner Gareth Morgan has an ambitious plan to make Stewart Island pest-free and is challenging locals to get on board.
The Morgan Foundation has been working with the Department of Conservation (DOC) on New Zealand's sub-Antarctic islands and the Million Dollar Mouse project.
Mr Morgan is in Invercargill this week and will return to Stewart Island in October to talk to locals "to see if they are up for it".
However, if the community isn't interested he said he would turn his energies to other projects.
"If I go to Stewart Island and get told to piss off, I will."
It might cost up to $35 million to make Stewart Island pest-free.
But it was a measure of a community's commitment if they were "prepared to put some skin into the game".
It was part of Sir Paul Callaghan's goal of a predator-free New Zealand, he said.
"We are not going to be able to do New Zealand if communities don't stand up."
He believes it was possible to eradicate stoats, mice, rats and cats from somewhere as big as Stewart Island.
"DOC are really good at killing things. They can go to an island and wipe things out and make it safe for the native flora and fauna."
However, when humans were involved in the equation it became "like herding cats".
"I think Stewart Island has got an opportunity, all these places do. There's a big economic benefit - even bigger than the free-fees for students - but it's a question of whether these communities are really interested."
Mr Morgan said Great Barrier Island would be the ideal predator-free island. Being close to Auckland gave it a massive profile, which would have huge benefits for public education.
But there were other places, such as Stewart Island and the Otago Peninsula, which could also be made pest-free.
"It's aspirational but that's what life should be."
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29/10/2012 10:47:20 a.m.
Edward White wrote:
I missed all the news about this months ago but now Gareth has been back he's pushing for it. There has been a public opinion vote put out on Stewart island. This has been put to the residents only and not even land holders have their say. I think Gareth needs to look at the bigger picture and consider not aerial dropping. Maybe look at an employment opertunity for those that may be interested. That opertunity could also have a positive effect on the islands economy. check out www.tvwild.co.nz for their view and an opertunity to have your input.
14/08/2012 4:58:29 p.m.
The Otago Peninsula is already on the way to being pest free with a program to eradicate opossums.
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