© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

Big boost for 'ambitious' wildlife project.

Luisa Osborne
corsair bay resized 2
Banks Peninsula will benefit from more than $5 million for pest control. (Pictured: Corsair Bay, Banks Peninsula)  Luisa Osborne

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has announced a $5.11 million boost for pest control on Banks Peninsula.

The boost for pest control on Banks Peninsula will come into effect this week.

General Manager of Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust general manager Maree Burnett said the focus would be protecting plants and wildlife, such as sea-birds, prone to predators.

She said the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Christchurch City Council already ran an extensive trapping programme on Banks Peninsula but possum control had lapsed since it started on private land 20 years ago to protect sea-birds.

Burnett said the fresh funding would enable more measures to be put in place to eradicate possums and suppress other predators such as feral cats, rats, mustelids (such as ferrets and stoats) and, in the Kaitorete area, hedgehogs.

The trust, which formed in 2001, collected the money on behalf of the partnership dedicated to protecting the peninsula, which encompasses 14 different groups. The trust itself was formed as a community-driven organisation to drive the protection of biodiversity on privately owned land through voluntary methods.

In the announcement on August 9 Sage said it was a "game-changer for this ambitious project". The focus, she said, would be on introduced pests, as well as providing 15 jobs "in an area where the tourism and hospitality sectors have been particularly hard hit by Covid-19".

Burnett said the new target was to reach 28,000 hectares of land on the peninsula, which covers 115,000 hectares in total.