We are reaching biological and physical limits, DoC warns Minister

The Kaimanawa Forest.
The Kaimanawa Forest. Photo credit: Getty

New Zealand is reaching is its "biological and physical limits", the Department of Conservation (DoC) has warned in its Briefing to the Incoming Minister Eugenie Sage.

But despite the warnings of pressures on the environment, it's not all gloom - there's a big pat on the back for National's Predator Free 2050 scheme. 

DoC says it faces two main challenges: the continued decline of New Zealand's indigenous biodiversity and increasing pressure on the environment from 1.3 million international tourists visiting conservation land.

It says the main threat on land is existing pests - especially weeds and predators - with the second biggest threat being the introduction of new pests and disease.

The use of 1080 and other pest-control methods should continue, as there is "robust evidence of their effectiveness," Doc wrote. It says new tools should be developed to allow the department to "do more than just hold the front line."

Climate change is a growing threat, causing the east to become drier and the west wetter. The biggest fire year was 2015/16 and storms are becoming more frequent.

The report commends National's Predator Free 2050 scheme, which was introduced by John Key in 2016.

DoC calls the programme "gamechanging", saying there's been a "groundswell of support" for it from iwi, philanthropists, businesses and the community.

It offers three opportunities, DoC says: expanding predator control, investment in science and capitalising on community enthusiasm. 

Significant increases to the DoC's budget have been promised to both the Greens and New Zealand First as part of their support agreements with Labour.