The Minister of Conservation on Predator Free

Department of Conservation —  11/03/2020

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.

One step closer, blog header 6 with bar and credit 11

By Eugenie Sage, Minister of Conservation

New Zealand is experiencing a biodiversity crisis. Thousands of our native species are declining in numbers, and unless we take bold steps, some will be lost to us forever.

The aim of Predator Free New Zealand is a bold step.

It has spanned two successive governments, supporting the enormous effort by New Zealanders to free us of introduced predators, ensuring that native plants and animals thrive.

Image Zoe Robinson - Minister Sage on the 20th anniversary of the Hauraki Gulf, out looking at mussel beds

Image: Zoe Robinson; Minister Sage on the 20th anniversary of the Hauraki Gulf, out looking at mussel beds

In 2018, the Government approved $81.28 million over four years to suppress predators in priority ecosystems, protect and increase biodiversity on offshore islands, and develop more effective and efficient methods to control predators.

Achieving a predator free New Zealand requires all our efforts. Many people are already contributing: individuals, whānau and hapū, land managers and communities, businesses and scientists; local government and national agencies. The Predator Free 2050 Strategy ‘Towards a Predator Free New Zealand’ wraps a collective framework around this action guiding us toward PF2050, by providing a path towards this shared goal, characterised by local and national collaboration. It is built around three key phases: mobilise – innovate –accelerate.

And people are mobilising. Since the Predator Free 2050 goal was announced in 2016 over 5000 groups and iwi have registered to conduct predator control in their communities, supported in their actions by the Predator Free New Zealand Trust.

Conservation has increased in scale, with new landscape-scale projects funded by government through Predator Free 2050 Ltd. National collaborations are being formed, focusing on aligning national effort on the key priorities. And local collaborations allow people to contribute funds and time and help.

Image by Tim Onnes - CROPPED

Image: Tim Onnes; Minister Sage with a trap

Meanwhile innovation continues, with DOC’s Tools to Market programme funding the development of new tools and technologies to protect and defend sites from reinvasion. These include long-life rat lures and self-resetting traps.

All of this work is shifting us from sustained predator control, currently so critical for the survival of many species, to eradication once and for all. The Government has increased our investment into Tiakina Ngā Manu, DOC’s predator control programme, while scientists look for ways to eradicate predators. And where we do have the answers, progress is accelerating, with 117 islands now declared predator free.

Eugenie Sage with Kakapo - resized

Image: DOC; Minister Sage with a kākāpō

Nature underpins our economy, culture and wellbeing. While I acknowledge predator free is ambitious, I believe it is an ambition worth striving for. This Government is proud to be playing a part in this investment in our future and the future of taonga species with whom we share these islands of Aotearoa.

Nāku noa, nā


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

6 responses to The Minister of Conservation on Predator Free

    Chris Talbot 28/05/2020 at 1:04 pm

    Les Kelly’s book Duped is not a mystery, it explains the original predator free nz concept. Well worth reading in my opinion. It confirms how far people are prepared to go to decieve the public.


      I’ve seen a few quotes from Les’s book recently. Unfortunately he seems to have been captured by the anti-1080 movement and he’s now retailing myths and lies.


    What about the true story behind Pedator Free NZ, Les Kelly ring a bell? Doc corruption and deception! Read the book just released. Duped! The true story behind Predator Free NZ!


      Les Kelly’s book is a mystery. The anti-1080 people are trolling it round the traps, But none of them will say how much it costs or how to get it. I think it’s just a figment of their imaginations.

      Les had the original bold idea and the insight to realise the decline in birds was due to predation. His concept inspired the Predator Free 2050 movement. But I’ve talked to Les about his idea of a solution, and it’s only a small part of what is required.

    Murray Stewart 13/03/2020 at 12:56 pm

    Predator Free. Go Eugenie.

    Chris Newcombe 13/03/2020 at 6:43 am

    It all starts in our own backyard as house holders to batch owners to big farm holdings. We all have a part to play,setting traps keeping places tidy so as not to attract predators. Getting rid of cats and or registering them would be a start as well. Good fortune and happy hunting everyone involved!