Environment Southland proposes new cat ban

The Southland community of Omaui is set to become a cat-free corner of New Zealand. Environment Southland is proposing changes which will see a ban on new domestic cats.

Biosecurity operations manager Ali Meade says once a cat dies, the owner will not be allowed a new one.

"After that point there will be no new cats. Once your cat dies you won't be able to replace them," she told RadioLIVE.

Ms Meade says it will protect local bird life, and native bird activity is already increasing in the area.

"The bird numbers are increasing, there's lots of tui and bell-birds," she says.

"The community are wanting to find a way to look after them even more."

It's the latest community considering anti-cat policies to protect the environment. Kapiti Island's Kotuku Parks subdivision has a no-cat covenant and Auckland Council is proposing to put down any cat caught in an "ecologically significant site" without a microchip.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has suggested Wellington locals should stop owning cats in order to reintroduce Kiwis to urban areas.

"I think gradually we'll see people recognise that having wildlife thrive will mean having cats inside - and when your cat dies, then potentially not replacing it."

Her comments echo the results of a recent Otago University survey, which found domestic pets like cats pose a challenge to restoring native species.

They're also in-line with comments by former The Opportunities Party (TOP) leader Gareth Morgan, who called cats "natural-born killers" that need to be wiped out.

Ms Sage believes people have a tough decision to make.

"Often people have a choice. Is it the native birds and wildlife, like the lizards, insects they want to thrive? Or is it the cat?"

Newshub.