Haast tokoeka kiwi
Image: Barry Harcourt ©

Introduction

Predator Free 2050 is an ambitious goal to rid New Zealand of the most damaging introduced predators that threaten our nation’s natural taonga, our economy and primary sector.

Highlights

Ridding New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats by 2050 will require new techniques and a coordinated team effort – across communities, iwi and the public and private sectors. 

It’s an opportunity for New Zealanders to protect our biodiversity and leave an impressive conservation legacy for future generations.

How you can get involved

About Predator Free 2050 

There are thousands of people working across New Zealand each year on all kinds of predator control and biodiversity projects aimed at saving our birds and wildlife for future generations.

In July 2016, the Government announced the Predator Free 2050 programme, which builds on these existing efforts to help make the goal of a predator free New Zealand a reality.

Predator Free 2050 means taking a much more integrated approach to predator management, by connecting the efforts of:

  • land owners and individuals
  • communities
  • iwi
  • private businesses
  • philanthropists
  • science and research
  • central and local government.

Predator Free 2050 involves a commitment of $28m over 4 years, and $7m per year thereafter. This funding is in addition to the current effort and resources (currently estimated at more than $70 million a year).

Predator Free 2050 Ltd was established to direct a significant amount of this crown investment. It has a focus on breakthrough science and large-scale predator control and eradication initiatives. This is done through the Expressions of Interest process. The company is required to secure matching investment of $2 for every $1 of Crown investment.

Expressions of interest

Although we don't have the technology yet to achieve a predator-free New Zealand, the Predator Free 2050 programme provides a focus on:

  • developing breakthrough predator control tools and techniques
  • forging the networks needed to make the vision happen

PF2050 announcement media release
The origins of the Predator Free New Zealand goal.

Interim 2025 Goals

Four interim 2025 goals have been set, to maintain momentum, focus initial efforts and show that the predator free goal is achievable. The goals are:

  1. Increasing the areas where predators are suppressed by 1 million hectares.
  2. Demonstrating predator removal from more than 20,000-hectare areas of the mainland.
  3. Removing all mammalian predators from offshore island Nature Reserves.
  4. Developing science solutions that lead to the removal of at least one small mammal predator species from the mainland.

Research Strategy

To support the development of scientific solutions, a research strategy has been designed to develop the tools and technology capable of eradicating at least one small mammalian predator from the mainland; an important milestone on the road to a predator free New Zealand.

The initial priority components of the strategy are organised into four research programmes:

The research strategy

Why it matters

Rats, stoats and possums kill millions of native birds every year and have pushed species to the brink of extinction. Managing just these three introduced predators for agriculture and conservation costs over $70 million each year. 

Predator illustration.

  • Rats threaten the survival of many native species such as wētā, snails, lizards and birds. They eat almost anything, including our native species and their food sources. They are common agricultural, industrial and domestic pests, causing a lot of economic damage and posing a risk to human health.
  • Possums eat many native species including snails and beetles as well as native birds. They decimate forest canopies and compete directly with native birds such as kiwi for food and resources. Possums spread bovine tuberculosis to cattle and deer, resulting in high costs and lost productivity. They also harm horticulture and commercial forestry crops.
  • Stoats have caused the extinction of several New Zealand bird species and are the major cause of decline for many other species, including reptiles and invertebrates. They attack defenceless young kiwi and contribute to the continuing decline of mainland kiwi populations.

The benefits

Predator Free 2050 will deliver huge benefits across New Zealand – for social and cultural links with our environment, for our regional economies through primary industries and tourism and for our threatened native species. Benefits include:

  • protecting our biodiversity, including our threatened native species and ecosystems
  • strengthening our communities and national identity
  • creating a healthier population through increased recreation
  • delivering enhanced agricultural and tourism returns
  • creating new opportunities for regional development
  • reducing ongoing costs of conservation
  • leaving an impressive conservation legacy for future generations.

Who’s involved?

Achieving Predator Free New Zealand 2050 (PF2050) requires a coordinated national effort across central and local government, iwi, philanthropists, non-government organisations, businesses, science and research organisations, communities, land owners and individuals.

Some of the key players
  • DOC is responsible for facilitating the overall PF2050 programme and ensuring the public and private sectors are well-connected. Our network of Predator Free Rangers support community initiatives and act as a vital link into the wider ranger network within each region.
  • Predator Free 2050 Ltd is a crown-owned entity responsible for investing in large landscape-scale projects and breakthrough research via Expressions of Interest and Request for Proposal processes. It also sources additional funding from business, local government and philanthropists.
  • Predator Free NZ Trust focusses on supporting, building and connecting community efforts, growing the vision and telling the story. It shares best-practice resources, helps people find ways to be involved, and maps who is doing what around the country. 
  • Biological Heritage National Science Challenge is charged with providing science-based solutions to enhance and restore New Zealand’s ecosystems, including eliminating predator threats.
  • Regional councils manage predators on private land and reserves, and are well placed to support or lead the PF2050 movement in urban and rural areas.
  • OSPRI is a partnership between primary industries and the government, tasked with eradicating bovine TB from NZ. It undertakes aerial and ground-based possum control operations. 

Download a brochure

Predator Free 2050 brochure (PDF, 743K)


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