In Question Time today Conservation Minister Maggie Barry was quizzed on the cost of her recently-announced predator-free New Zealand policy. First, she tried not to answer; then, when she was forced to answer by the Speaker, she admitted it:
There have been a number of estimates that have been put forward, some of which are accurate, some of which are building on suppositions. For example—[Interruption] Well, we think that they are accurate. At this stage, when we look at how much it costs us to, for example, rid the Million Dollar Mouse from the Antipodes, that is a million dollars and upwards. There are various studies—a $9.04 billion figure came through from Auckland University, for example. That figure is based on the estimated highest-per-hectare cost of current eradication technology. It does not, though, take into account potential technological advances, and it is really simply a scale-up of current methods that are used on islands.
Yes, that's right: the best estimate is $9 billion, but it will be cheaper because of magic Technology
And against that $9 billion estimated cost, the government is contributing $28 million. Over four years. That's $7 million a year. And at that rate, we'll meet their target in... 3300 or so.
Making New Zealand predator free is a great goal. But its clear from the funding level and Barry's answers today that the government has no real commitment to it and view it only as a PR stunt. New Zealand - and our native birds - deserves better than this bullshit.