OPINION: Having listened to Gareth Morgan and the Department of Conservation's proposal to poison Stewart Island with an area of 168,000 hectares at a cost of $50 million makes me wonder how that is possible.
The same type of operation carried out on MacQuarrie Island with an area of just 12,875 hectares cost $27 million.
The two islands have differing challenges but not to enough to make such a large difference.
MacQuarrie has no woody bush, only tussock grasses no more than one metre high along with a few other plant species.
Stewart Island with its vastly different vegetation of podocarps to extremely tight bush, and much more difficult terrain, would make the the proposed poisoning much more difficult.
I would expect the cost to be more in the vicinity of $100 million especially as it has been some years since the MacQuarrie operation and would be some years before Stewart Is is dealt to the costs will have increased considerably.
A successful outcome would also be doubtful as in the case of MacQuarrie Island.
Even though enough poison baits were dropped to equate to one every square metre it failed to poison all the target species, so there were mop-up operations using ground staff intensely for a considerable time to complete the job.
Imagine what it would take to mop up any of the target species that survive on Stewart Island.
I would suggest that apart from an unachievable goal it would be cost prohibitive.
Abridged - Editor
- The Southland Times