NZ’s great pest-free quest: can we get there?

J. Morton,  NZ Herald,  2020.

The Government has unveiled how it plans to rid New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats by 2050 – but there’s no specific mention of contentious gene-editing technology that many scientists say will be needed.

The Predator Free 2050 strategy, being formally launched this morning by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage, sets out a basic structure for the ambitious mission, while an accompanying action plan focuses on work for the next five years.

The 2050 goal, first announced by the previous National-led government in 2016, forms one of New Zealand’s principal efforts to turn the tide on pests killing some 25 million native birds each year.

The just-released strategy focused on three steps: mobilising groups and setting up collaborations around the country; developing “new and transformational tools and techniques” that’ll be required to eradicate the pests; and then applying these at scale across the countryside.