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Mallard: Bring the moa back to life within 50 years

Tuesday 1 Jul 2014 5:25 p.m.

Labour's Trevor Mallard has been labelled loopy and unusual for his outlandish plan to bring native bird the moa back from extinction.

It has been dead for centuries but for the Hutt South MP, that is just a technicality. He wants them roaming his electorate within 50 years.

"I'd like ones I can pat on the head," he says.

Mr Mallard says moa DNA extracted from egg shells is enough to bring them back to life. A similar scheme involving dinosaurs was the premise of the movie Jurassic Park.

"I don't want the massive moa up the park where many of us walk because they're 3.5 metres tall and weigh 240kg. They would be dangerous, but there are some smaller ones.

"We're unlikely to get any dinosaurs in Wainuiomata."

National thinks Mr Mallard has lost the plot. Judith Collins labelled him "an unusual person" and Nick Smith says the proposal is "really out in the loopy territory".

"But maybe there's a few of them hanging around their caucus," jokes Prime Minister John Key.

"Colonel Mallard and his Hutt-fried moa," says National's Gerry Brownlee.

Cloned DNA brought extinct Spanish goat the bucardo back to life for seven minutes. Scientists are also close to bringing the gastric-brooding frog back from extinction.

"I don't think this one's going to fly," says Labour Party leader David Cunliffe. "The moa's not a goer."

But Mr Mallard disagrees.

"The moa will be a goer."

For nearly two weeks Labour struggled to reclaim the agenda. It could not shake the Donghua Liu drama. Now it has, with a pitch to revive a bird that has been extinct for 600 years. It is probably not what Mr Cunliffe had in mind.

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