Critics say Waiheke Island predator-free plan lacks key details

Critics of an $11 million plan to make Waiheke Island predator-free say it lacks key details.

The plan to make Waiheke the first urban island in the world to go predator-free was announced by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage on Sunday.

Costing more than $10 million and to be completed by 2025, the plan is to use traps to target rats and stoats.

While 45 Hauraki Gulf islands are pest-free, none have a population of 9000 like Waiheke - and the island's appeal to tourists could make it difficult for Ms Sage's vision to become a reality.

The island faces the question of how to keep pests away when there are 2 million ferry passengers visiting each year.

Although most ferries have a predator-free warrant, Ms Sage admits it will be hard to police private vessels.

Currently there are no possums on Waiheke, but volunteers and landowners have been battling stoats and rats for years.

Some residents are also divided over how the pests should be killed.

"We have quite a diverse community; people have quite different views and we really wanted to be able to support the aspirations of the community and respect their views," said Department of Conservation (DoC) ranger Jonah Kitto-Verhoef.

"We've got traps when people don't like to use poison - we've got poison for different areas," he said.

John Smeed is also concerned that the island's feral cat problem is not included.

"There are bleeding heart types who couldn't bear to kill that pet, but they think its okay to dump it in the wild," he said.

Community trust Te Korowai o Waiheke has been given a $10.9 million budget over five to seven years, but only $2.6 million of that is from Government. The Auckland Council is giving $2.85 million, while $875,000 is coming from Foundation North.

The rest is from community groups, existing DoC Council programmes, and Waiheke landowners.