Photo credit: David Mark, Pixabay
Govt invests $27M in wallaby control
On May 14, 2020, the Government announced a $27 million investment in wallaby control, with a special emphasis on stimulating the economy and getting people back into work post COVID-19.
This news came as a surprise for many, including Te Tira Whakamātaki who have long supported some Te Arawa iwi develop and promote their vision of having Te Arawa people employed to manage the impacts of wallabies on their whenua (lands).
Because wallabies are found in both the North and South Islands, a national wallaby programme will be facilitated by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), while regional specific approaches will be facilitated by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Regional Councils in partnership with Iwi.
In the few weeks since the budget announcement, MPI have already met with DOC, local councils, Iwi and TTW to determine the next steps.
Both TTW and Iwi are hoping to have whānau employed as soon as possible, and have them out on the hills and in the bush controlling wallabies.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage is quoted as saying the funding was an attempt at “supercharging” the efforts to return native bush to health and that “supporting iwi efforts to save iconic North Island forests from collapse because of the impacts of possums, pigs and deer is crucial to helping nature and the climate” (“Budget 2020: Funding for pest control aims to rein in growing wallaby population”).
TTW looks forward to seeing Crown agencies, such as DOC and MPI, support iwi efforts through appropriate resourcing so Māori can begin healing their ngahere (forests).