2 December 2021: Read the NZCA's advice to the Minister on the importance of having a comprehensive control plan for deer, goats and pigs to prevent unnecessary biodiversity decline on public conservation land.

To: Hon Kiritapu Allan, Minister of Conservation
Date: 2 December 2021

At its October 2021 meeting, the New Zealand Conservation Authority (Authority) discussed concerns around the impacts of deer, goats, and pigs on vegetation and biodiversity.

Mammalian herbivores significantly impact forest health in all regions of Aotearoa New Zealand. The inability to control the increasing numbers of these wild herds will have significant negative impacts on biodiversity health and climate change mitigation, if not bought under control. The issue of wild deer, goats, and pigs will continue to impact our native forests negatively, hindering our forest’s ability to act as a long-term carbon sink, and improve its biodiversity health to support the survival of threatened species.

At its meeting, the Authority agreed that there is increasing need to extend the implementation of the Deer Control Plan to include the South Island, noting that the Department’s efforts in wild deer management to date have been primarily focused on control in the Northland, Auckland, and Central North Island regions. Wild deer control is a national issue, with populations increasing all over Aotearoa New Zealand, so action must be taken to prevent unnecessary biodiversity decline across vast areas of public conservation land.

The Authority is aware that, following a Ministerial directive, the Department is developing a national approach to address increasing deer abundance. The Department’s Te Ara ki Mua–Deer in Aotearoa project was presented to the Authority at its April 2021 meeting. Although, in its initiation, the project focused on developing a strategic framework for responding to increasing deer populations, it appears that this framework has now extended to a Te Ara ki Mua - Wild Animal Framework.

The Authority looks forward to engaging with the Department on a strategic discussion on this matter at its upcoming December meeting, and will be advocating for this strategic framework to include control of goats and pigs as well as deer.


No reira
E noho ora mai


Edward Ellison ONZM
Chairperson NZCA

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