We don't need a national conversation about Predator Free 2050by Joanne Black
We’re long passed needing to talk about wiping out pests – what we need is a national conversation about national conversations.
This made me think that New Zealanders need a national conversation about national conversations. My view is the only good rat is a dead rat, and possum skins look better in rugs than they do on possums.
It will be a national disgrace if the country loses another native species of any type. Introduced pests are both direct predators and responsible for destroying the habitat of native species, though no pest has vandalised the natural habitat as much as humans have.
However, since humans are calling the shots here, we won’t be having a conversation, national or otherwise, about eradicating them. Some days that seems a pity.
But much as I applaud PF2050’s raison d’être, my eyes roll at the whole “national conversation” thing. PF2050, I think, has its priorities in the wrong order. Its first research goal is to “explore social and cultural views about predator eradication, and confirm and expand our understanding of environmental and ecological consequences”.
If PF2050 advocated for a particular technology, it would find it had a national conversation on its hands without having to manufacture one. Gareth Morgan’s suggesting desexing of stray cats started a conversation. Then, John Key, when Prime Minister, started another by advocating changing the flag.
Conversations are spontaneous when people have an opinion, but it is hard to feel moved by PF2050 not having a view on any specific pest-eradication technology. What do we talk about?
In fact, I’ve already run out of things to say about its position except to make the other obvious point that, as a country, New Zealand has been talking about the poison 1080 for as long as it has been in use. Many people deeply oppose it, but it is used in the absence of anything more efficacious, which calls into question whether the conversation has achieved anything. We need less talk and more eradication.
This article was first published in the December 2, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.
I predicted Bill English would lose the election and the winner would be Winston Peters. But no forecaster, including the PM, predicted her pregnancy.Read more
New essays on New Zealand-born US artist Len Lye elevate him to the status of Australasia’s most notable 20th-century artist.Read more
For about a third of infertility cases in New Zealand, there is no obvious reason why seemingly fertile couples struggle to conceive.Read more
More than one million images from Rykenberg Photography, taken around Auckland, are now in the Auckland Libraries Collection. But who are the people?Read more
A Golden Bay man spending his first night in his new house says he woke to find his bed, walls and floor covered in hundreds of creepy crawlies.Read more
There's a growing movement to stop the amount of wasteful plastic that goes into our oceans, but what about the tiny bits we can hardly see?Read more
The inconvenience to chlorine refuseniks is tiny compared with the risk of more suffering and tragedy from another Havelock North-style contamination.Read more