Predator Free pathways: Policy and legislation

Department of Conservation —  09/03/2020

With the launch of the Predator Free 2050 strategy: ‘Towards a Predator Free New Zealand’, we’re doing a series of blogs about the pathways identified in the strategy which are going to help us get to Predator Free.

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By Brent Beaven, Programme Manager Predator Free 2050

I always thought policy and legislation were boring.

So it was with trepidation that I entered the first collaborative meeting for the Predator Free policy and legislation workstream.

This workstream was set up to make sure that New Zealand has the right legislation and policy tools to deliver a Predator Free New Zealand.

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Image: Peta Carey; Brent and a tīeke (saddleback)

The goal is to make sure policy people in agencies such as DOC, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Land Information New Zealand, regional councils and the Ministry for the Environment could come together and make sure that collectively New Zealand’s regulatory framework supports Predator Free 2050.

This group quickly identified that there is lots of relevant work underway, including creation of New Zealand’s Biodiversity Strategy, a review of the Biosecurity Act 1993 and review of the resource management system.

The tricky thing is that while there’s a need for environmental scanning, (which means looking across the policy and regulatory environment for opportunities as they arise), there is also a need – a hugely pressing one, actually – to act now, because if we don’t we will miss the opportunity to influence what is already underway.

The group called this a no-regrets approach.

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Image: Peta Carey; Brent and a tīeke (saddleback)

The no-regrets approach means, for example, if we don’t engage in the review of the Biosecurity Act to look at things like pest management plans, unwanted organism classifications and border control we will lose the opportunity to make these work better for Predator Free.

It’s an ‘act now, because we have to’ situation.

Policy people are conceptual folk, so while other groups came up with more linear action plans, the policy collaboration designed their action plan as a river.

And lest you worry that policy folk are impractical people, spending too much time navel gazing, they signalled a strong need to work with our Treaty Partner in designing the proposed approaches, and the need to test their approaches against real world examples.

For example, if Rakiura (Stewart Island) becomes Predator Free, what are the regulations that may be needed to establish a border biosecurity system to keep it that way?

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Image: Peta Carey; Brent and a tīeke (saddleback)

I came away with the knowledge that whilst policy and legislation may not be everyone’s cup of tea (and some of us may prefer trapping predators or monitoring species), it is nevertheless critical … dare I say an unsung hero?

The Predator Free 2050 strategy: ‘Towards a Predator Free New Zealand’ is about returning the voice of the insects, bats, reptiles and birds back to the forests, farmlands, towns, cities and coasts.

And policy and legislation, (while not always jazzy), is a key pathway to get us there.

I feel strongly that the no-regrets approach is one that we can get behind.

Ngā mihi,


Here’s Brent talking about the three main phrases of the Predator Free 2050 Strategy: mobilise, innovate and accelerate.

For more about the PF2050 strategy, including a run through of the tools that are going to get us there, visit

4 responses to Predator Free pathways: Policy and legislation

    Karen Schumacher 10/03/2020 at 9:02 am

    Well done Brent and the wider team. This strategy and more importantly the 5 year action plan provides opportunities for everyone to make a difference. I agree this is bigger than any one group or organisation, and will need everything in our tool box to achieve. We all acknowledge this is an inspirational goal, but we need it to have something to strive towards. My only concern is within the 5 year goal in the community part, please make sure there is room for the community groups in the proposed organisation members section; not just central, regional and local Govt organisations.

    Aneira Komene 09/03/2020 at 10:46 pm

    Uz are criminals. Uz are dropping 1080 poison on some birds tat are becoming extinct. U need to hire communities and get them to help u set bait traps for pest that are crawling on the ground nor birds flying up high and like keep an eye on kiwis that maybe hiding away from humans ! Anyways ur 1080 poison bs needs to stop cos uz also pollutethe rivers and other water ways which makes it unhealthy for children and older people who may have medical conditions. Get with it people stop poisoning our waterways land and killing our native animals. Ur supposed to be looking after our natural resources not kill them off!


    You need WorkSafe onboard as changes to CSL licences make access to tools harder


    a waste of time and money unless the issue of pesticides and the decline of insects is addressed. Indeed I think this programme is misleading the public about its possible effectiveness.