South Westland predator-free project ‘massive win’ for biodiversity, economy : NZ HeraldFriday 12 March 2021
The $45 million predator-free project announced for South Westland yesterday was a “massive” win for biodiversity and the local economy, former Federated Farmers president Katie Milne says.
The five-year mountain to sea project, which encompasses the Whataroa, Okāritō and Franz Josef townships, is being supported by $3 million of Jobs for Nature funding in addition to another $9 million from DoC, and $12 million from Predator Free 2050 Ltd.
The 50 jobs expected to be created during the five-year assault on possum, rat and stoat numbers was also excellent news for a district hit harder than many by Covid-19 economic fallout, said Milne, who has taken on the role of chairing Predator Free South Westland.
“We’ll also be bringing back native birds to their former glory, protecting habitat for the rowi – New Zealand’s rarest Kiwi – and the recently rediscovered Ōkārito gecko,” Milne said.