Labour angry at $1000 angry bird reward
The Red-Vented Bulbul (Anton Croos)
The government is playing "cowboys and Indians" by offering a $1000 bounty to help eradicate a pesky species of angry birds in Auckland, Labour says.
The red-vented bulbul, which is a pest and known to be aggressive to other birds, is on the loose in New Zealand's largest city and is wanted by the Department of Conservation (DOC).
On Wednesday, DOC announced a $1000 reward for information that leads to the capture of a bird, an increase from $300 which has been on offer since October.
But Labour isn't happy with DOC's methods for trying to capture the five birds which are thought to be roaming around Auckland's skies.
"This is not the Wild West. We are a 21st Century nation and should have an independent, well-resourced agency to control our biosecurity," Primary Industries spokesman Damien O'Connor said.
"The next thing we know bounty hunters will breed pests and try to collect the bounty."
DOC also offers a $10 reward for the capture and killing of any great white butterfly.
"Bounties on butterflies and birds, as a core management practice for biosecurity control is a ludicrous situation to be in for a country so dependent on its biosecurity status," Mr O'Connor said.
The red-vented bulbul is considered one of the world's most invasive bird species.
It is believed the birds came in on a ship or yacht.
The maximum penalty for importing, trading, releasing, exhibiting or breeding a red-vented bulbul is five years in prison or a fine of $100,000.
The red-vented bulbuls have been spotted in south Auckland, west Auckland and on the North Shore.
DOC says they are easy to spot and have a black head, a dark back, grey-white belly and a distinctive crimson-red patch beneath their tail.