The Minister’s claim that a botched cull of one of New Zealand’s rarest birds was a way of getting all New Zealanders involved in conservation is offensive and ludicrous, Labour’s conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.
“An email from Minister Maggie Barry’s office over the destruction of four flightless takahe during a pukeko cull on Motutapu Island says the New Zealand Deerstalker’s Association hunters were contracted to do the job to spread the conservation message and not because of any funding cuts.
“There are fewer than 300 takahe on this planet but the Minister’s office claims that ‘while the intent was good, things went horribly wrong.’
“The email also claims the Department of Conservation is actually at its highest level of funding in history and claimed that rumours of funding cuts were unsubstantiated.
“That is just tosh as the annual funding in real terms for the Department of Conservation in 2015 is a whopping $65 million below the 2008/09 figure.
“This tragic event is devastating news given all the effort that goes into saving our rarest birds. This is a self-inflicted disaster for conservation and we need real answers into how it was allowed to happen,“ Ruth Dyson says.