Environment – Predator free projects receive new funding

Source: Predator Free 2050
Predator Free 2050 Limited has announced new investments in predator free projects around the country.
Existing projects in Taranaki, Waiheke and Dunedin, a new project in Te Urewera, and a feasibility study on Aotea Great Barrier Island will benefit from funding through the Jobs for Nature (Mahi mō te Taiao) programme.
“We’re excited to support communities and iwi wanting to protect biodiversity and build skills and careers in conservation,” says Predator Free 2050 Limited Chief Executive Abbie Reynolds.
The Tūhoe-led Te Urewera project, to remove predators from islands and peninsulas around Lake Waikaremoana, will receive a $1.65m funding contribution to ally Tūhoe investment in this area and support the development of 10 permanent jobs.
The community-based Te Korowai o Waiheke Project will receive $700,000 to accelerate the first stage of a rat eradication programme – the pilot. Seven new jobs in technical support and community liaison roles are being recruited.
Six jobs have been created to accelerate the Towards Predator-Free Taranaki Project led by Taranaki Regional Council. Work in the Kaitake zero possum zone and in urban and rural areas will benefit from $750,000 in new funding.
Predator Free Dunedin, a conservation collective of 22 organisations, will receive $150,000 to begin fundraising, communications and planning for an extension of its zero-possum area and to pilot stoat eradication on the Otago Peninsula.
Tū Mai Toanga, a collaborative project on Aotea Great Barrier Island, receives funding for four roles to assist with initial feasibility work on options for rat and feral cat removal. Predator Free 2050 Limited joins Auckland Council as a funder of Tū Mai Taonga, which was initiated by the Aotea Conservation Park Advisory Committee, with support from the Department of Conservation, sanctuaries and conservation groups. Predator Free 2050 Limited will provide up to $3m in co-funding over four years to create additional jobs, subject to the feasibility study identifying a well-supported and viable pathway for predator removal.
“These projects are about enabling iwi and communities to protect and bring back native wildlife to where they live and work. We are seeing the return of species like robins and kākā when predators are removed and have the prospect of returning kiwi to places where they have been missing for generations. These Jobs for Nature investments are also designed to create lasting cultural, social and economic benefits,” says Abbie Reynolds.
Predator Free 2050 Limited is a government-owned charitable company which invests in ambitious, landscape scale predator control projects, product developments and breakthrough-focused research.
It received $76m funding from the Jobs for Nature programme announced in Budget 2020. It has previously announced funding from this allocation for projects on Banks Peninsula, Wellington, Southland and South Westland.
Other projects around the country are in development.

Safety – Urgent action needed on newly released recommendation to review lead levels in plumbing products – Master Plumbers

Source: Master Plumbers Gasfitters and Drainlayers
Master Plumbers welcomes today’s recommendation by the Ministry of Health to review current plumbing standards with regards to allowable lead levels in imported tapware and fittings.
The recommendation forms part of the Ministry’s review of the health system response to the lead contamination in Waikouaiti’s drinking water supply.
“Whilst the recommendation is a good one, New Zealand needs to move to lead-free tapware and brass fittings as a matter of urgency,” says Master Plumbers CEO Greg Wallace.
“Master Plumbers has been advocating for this for a number of years and it should not have taken a contamination event of this kind for action to be taken.”
Lead is a cumulative toxin, which makes ongoing exposure through drinking water is of particular concern. Young children are especially vulnerable, with even low levels of exposure linked to learning disabilities and nervous system damage.
“No level of lead is acceptable,” says Master Plumbers CEO Greg Wallace. “Other countries, including Australia, are moving to lead-free tapware and brass fittings and New Zealand should be following suit.
“It is not enough to tell homeowners to run the tap before drinking if the water has been sitting for a while, as the Health Ministry’s advice currently stands.”
The Health Ministry has indicated that the new national drinking water regulator Taumata Arowai will be best placed to take account of the recommendations once the Water Services Bill is enacted.
Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers NZ Inc (Master Plumbers) is the national membership organisation for plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying businesses, with 18 regional Associations and Branches across New Zealand. Companies go through a Quality Assurance programme in order to become a member. We provide members with a wide range of resources and training opportunities to support them in staying up with the latest technologies, products and compliance requirements. We advocate on behalf of our members and our industry.
About Masterlink:
Masterlink, a group training scheme owned by Master Plumbers, provides managed mentored apprenticeships across New Zealand, with Regional Managers supporting the apprentices and the businesses who host them during their training.
About NZ Plumber:
NZ Plumber is the award-winning, bi-monthly magazine for New Zealand's plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers. It is owned by Master Plumbers.

Animal Welfare – NZVA accepts live export ban is consistent with animal welfare science

Source: NZ Veterinary Association
The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) is not surprised by the government’s decision to ban live exports by sea and believes the two- year transition period is pragmatic for businesses in the sector.
We are not surprised by the decision and believe it is consistent with advances in animal welfare science that acknowledges animal sentience – meaning animals have feelings, both positive and negative, just like humans, says the association’s chief veterinary officer, Helen Beattie.
“Given the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Damien O’Connor’s very clear message that the welfare of animals during the voyage cannot be assured, the NZVA is accepting of the decision – animal welfare matters, and as veterinarians we have a special duty to do what we can to ensure their welfare.”
NZVA’s policy on export of animals including livestock that was developed prior to the decision and shared with those undertaking both the MPI and Heron reviews. It states that the NZVA opposes the export of any live animal unless throughout the lifetime of the animal, its welfare is adequately managed according to the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
This policy applies to all stages of live animal export and transport – assembly of animals, the transport, the situation animals are in at their destination and their slaughter.
“We are however mindful of the economic impact that this ban will have for those involved in the trade, including some of our members’ clients,” says Kevin Bryant, NZVA chief executive.
“We understand the rationale behind the government’s decision, which is to ensure high standards of welfare for New Zealand livestock; and we accept that it is more difficult to guarantee all the physical and mental needs of our animals are met once they leave New Zealand shores.”
We trust that the Government has given this issue due deliberation during the extensive consultation process involving evaluation of public submissions, examination of industry information and scientific evidence, and the review of the findings from the Heron report on Maritime Safety and animal welfare.”

Fire Safety – Manawatu and Rangitikei move to open fire season

Source: Fire and Emergency New Zealand
At 8 am, Monday 19 April, Manawatu, Rangitikei and Palmerston North districts will move to an open fire season, with the exception of beaches across the Rangitikei, Manawatu and Horowhenua where open-air fires will remain prohibited.
An open fire season means people planning on lighting an open-air fire don’t need a permit prior to lighting.
Principal Rural Fire Officer Bradley Shanks says recent rain fall and cooler weather has helped reduce the risk of a fire spreading around the Manawatu and Rangitikei.
“However, I encourage people planning on lighting open-air fires to visit www.checkitsalright.nz for information and advice on managing fires safely,” he says.
“I’d like to thank everyone who followed Fire and Emergency’s advice when lighting fires over the periods of heightened fire danger.”

Education – Tourism But Not As We Know It: Ara Makes A Sustainable Commitment

Source: Ara Institute of Canterbury
Ara Institute of Canterbury has just signed up to the Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) ‘Tourism Sustainability Commitment’, a publicly-declared commitment towards the active embrace of sustainable operations in New Zealand.
The Commitment is a natural fit with Ara’s role as one of the South Island’s leading providers of tourism-industry and hospitality management programmes. Just as New Zealand emphasises its ‘clean green’ credentials to overseas markets, Ara graduates are encouraged to enter their professional life with a sound grasp of the concepts and practices that contribute to sustainability in its broadest sense.
Ara also offers New Zealand’s only Masters degree in Sustainable Practice. This is helmed by Dr Allen Hill, who is also actively engaged in the 2020 – 2021 New Zealand Sustainable Development Goals Summit Series. The Summit Series is the third such Series to be organized by New Zealand tertiary institutions, and is this year co-hosted by the University of Canterbury (UC) and Lincoln University, and is supported by Ara Institute of Canterbury, Christchurch City Council (CCC) and Christchurch NZ. The Series comes to a climax this September with the action-focused workshop at UC entitled “Pathways to (Urgent) Action”.
Past Ara students who have undertaken a Bachelor of Sustainability and Outdoor Education include Sam Le Marchand, who last year examined circular economies and sustainable practice within selected New Zealand food and beverage businesses. In the course of undertaking a qualitative survey of four organizations, Sam found that all four had incorporated policies and procedures that prioritized environmental sustainability, but also discovered that hospitality’s traditionally tight margins as well as technological and HR barriers can sometimes slow a change towards a better environmental profile.
However, Ara’s hospitality and tourism programmes have all been developed with a focus on sustainability. From the Bachelor of International Tourism and Hospitality Management courses through to the Certificate in Tourism courses, impacts of tourism on the environment, cultural impact of tourism, and the significance of are all core components of the programmes, along with the need to maintain financial sustainability in tourism organisations.
Part of the commitment to sustainability from the department of Hospitality and Service Industries is a focus on the waste associated with food production. All of Ara’s training kitchens have three bins to separate out food, recyclable and rubbish items, with the organic food waste going to an external worm farm. Surrounding the department are a variety of fruit trees and edible plants, including a herb garden and there are four beehives on the roof that produce honey for sale on campus. Packaging for all takeaway food containers has been replaced with compostable or recyclable material.
With the advent of the Commitment, the TIA is clearly hoping to help businesses take tangible steps towards more sustainable operations, claiming that “our Vision is for the New Zealand tourism industry to be ‘leading the world in sustainable tourism.” The organisation further states that in order for this to be achievable, all tourism businesses need to be “actively working towards sustainability within their operations”.
Specifically, the TSC asks that businesses embody the Māori concepts of kaitiakitanga,manaakitanga and whanaungatanga and put into place a concrete sustainability plan with goals for all 12 of the ‘Commitments’, make measurable progress towards these goals, and share their progress with their communities.  
Dr. Michael Shone, who is head of Research at Ara and whose doctoral thesis covered the impacts of tourism in Akaroa, says “By formally signing up to this TIA Tourism Sustainability Commitment, we are signalling our own commitment to the principles which underpin this declaration. This means working together to provides strong benefits the people and places of Aotearoa. This is an important message not only to our learners but also to our communities.”

Sustainable Business – Industry leaders partner to reduce freight emissions

Source: Sustainable Business Council
A report released today by the Sustainable Business Council’s (SBC) Freight Group sets out an ambitious but achievable 30-year pathway to progressively decarbonise New Zealand’s freight system.
The Low Carbon Freight Pathway report was launched at an event at Toll Tamaki, in South Auckland, attended by Transport Minister Hon Michael Wood and industry leaders from the transport, freight and business sectors. The Freight Group includes leaders from nine New Zealand companies committed to low carbon freight – Countdown, Fonterra, Lyttelton Port Company, New Zealand Post, Ports of Auckland, Swire Shipping, The Warehouse Group, TIL Logistics Group and Toll.
Host of the event and member of SBC’s Freight Group, Executive General Manager Toll New Zealand, Jon Adams says the companies in the group are already advancing their own decarbonisation pathway and are committed to the country’s zero carbon future by 2050.
“Every year we move around 280 million tonnes of freight across our transport system – through road, rail, coastal shipping, international shipping and air. That’s around 56 tonnes of freight per person in New Zealand. On current projections our freight volumes will increase by 33 percent well before 2050. If we do nothing, emissions will grow by over 37 percent by 2050. We need to act now.”
Fellow Group member and sustainability expert, Rosie Mercer, General Manager Sustainability at Ports of Auckand, says that members of the Freight Group partnered to help the wider freight sector get to net zero. “New Zealand’s freight system is vital to our economy and our wellbeing. It is a complex system and we believe that the most effective approach to decarbonisation is leadership with an approach designed and led by, and for, industry. This is the Freight Group’s goal. At the core of this approach is working in partnership with Government to support a planned and staged 30-year decarbonisation programme,” she says.
Both acknowledge that decarbonisation across the transport sector is ambitious but achievable.
“The report shows that the most effective pathway is to carefully manage the economic cost of the transition. Our proposed low carbon freight pathway has three interconnected horizons of work, with each horizon progressed concurrently and starting immediately. These horizons have different levels of intensity and time-periods allowing a staged transition. It’s an approach that provides businesses time and greater surety to best manage the transition of their fleet.”
The low carbon freight pathway proposes:
– Reducing emissions by optimising the use of existing vehicles;
– Replacing fossil fuels with biofuels; and
– As vehicles are retired, eliminating them by replacing them with zero carbon vehicles.
“Our next step is to to work with the sector and to bring more partners on board the pathway. As more businesses begin the transition, the cost of decarbonisation will fall as we achieve economies of scale,” says Mr Adams.
The Low Carbon Freight Pathway report, commissioned by the SBC Freight Group, was developed by Sapere and DETA consultants.
The report, FAQs and background information are online here.

Health – Māori children hospitalised with asthma at twice rate of non-Māori, study finds

Source: Asthma and Respiratory Foundation
A study published today (16 April) in the New Zealand Medical Journal highlights clear inequities in the health outcomes of New Zealand children with asthma. 
The study, by the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland, documents trends in the number and cost of hospital admissions and asthma prescriptions for children aged 0-14 from 2010-2019. 
It shows that Māori children were hospitalised with asthma at twice the rate of non-Māori children (7.2/1,000 versus 3.5/1,000), and a larger proportion of Māori children had an asthma readmission within 90 days of their first admission (18% versus 14%). 
 Asthma admission rates for children from families living in the most deprived areas were, on average, 2.8 times higher than in the least deprived areas. 
It’s estimated that the combined cost of asthma hospitalisations and prescriptions was $165m. 
“Although hospitalisations and prescriptions attributable to asthma have declined, our analysis indicates that many New Zealand children, particularly Māori children and those living in areas of high deprivation, are not receiving levels of primary care for asthma that are consistent with prevention,” says researcher Dr Justin O’Sullivan. 
“These findings are in line with our own research,” says Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) Chief Executive Letitia Harding. “Our latest report, The Impact of Respiratory Disease in New Zealand: 2018 Update, found that prevalence, hospitalisation and mortality were all significantly higher for both Māori and Pacific peoples, and in more socioeconomically deprived neighbourhoods. The report recommended that urgent new and extended programmes are needed to reduce the severe ethnic and socio-economic inequalities in respiratory disease.” 
ARFNZ has a strong focus on reducing health inequities and reaching vulnerable communities. The Sailor the Pufferfish – Heremana te Kōpūtōtara puppet show, an engaging musical show which helps to educate tamariki and their kaiako about asthma, is now presented to school children in te reo Māori. Booklets on managing your child’s asthma, asthma action plans and asthma symptom diaries are also now produced in te reo Māori. 
 ARFNZ also works in partnership with Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission), and recently sent over 70 te reo resource packs out to Māori Health Providers across New Zealand, which also included asthma spacers to deliver asthma medication more effectively. 
“The support we get from Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori helps us to get information and resources to the most vulnerable communities,” says Letitia. “The findings of the University of Auckland study reinforce the value and necessity of this outreach work.” 
ARFNZ’s next Impact of Respiratory Disease in New Zealand report will be published later this year. 

Animal Welfare and Racing – Greyhound racing taken to task as the Government announces a review

Source: SAFE NZ
The Government has just announced a review of the greyhound racing industry, following reports from SAFE, Greyhound Protection League and Grey2K USA Worldwide of ongoing cruelty within the greyhound racing industry.
In the announcement, Minister for Racing Grant Robertson said he is not satisfied the industry is improving animal welfare, and Greyhound Racing New Zealand has failed to provide sufficient information on changes they are making.
Should the review show that progress has not been sufficient, a further fundamental look at the greyhound racing industry may be required, said Robertson
SAFE CEO Debra Ashton said she’s encouraged by this announcement.
“Greyhound racing continues to put dog’s lives at risk,” said Ashton. “So far this year over 270 dogs have been killed or injured, and those are the dogs we are aware of.”
“Getting information from Greyhound Racing New Zealand about the treatment of dogs in their industry is incredibly difficult, so we’re looking forward to a comprehensive review of the industry.”
More than 26,000 people have signed SAFE and Greyhound Protection League’s petition to ban Greyhound racing. Green MP Chloe Chloe Swarbrick announced earlier this year she would be submitting a members bill to ban greyhound racing in Aotearoa.
“The situation for dogs in the Greyhound Racing industry is untenable. This is an industry that must be banned.”
SAFE is New Zealand’s leading animal rights organisation.
We're creating a future that ensures the rights of animals are respected. Our core work empowers society to make kinder choices for ourselves, animals and our planet.
Greyhound injury list:
– 28 March, Auckland: THRILLING PEGGY fractured right hock.
– 29 March, Christchurch: MITCHAM ILA – a fractured hock.
– 30 March, Christchurch: GOTCHA TROY – fractured hock.
– 30 March, Christchurch: RIPSTORM – fractured hock
– 11 April, Auckland: ALL DAY LONG fractured left scapula fracture
– 11 April, Auckland: SPRING TIMMIE fractured right hock
Reported Greyhound death toll from January 2021 to date:
– January 1, Whanganui: My Pablo, euthanised after suffering a ruptured stomach. And Born Quick, euthanised after suffering a fractured hind tarsal bone.
– January 6, Whanganui: Novo Ollie, euthanised after suffering a fractured right hock.
– January 10, Auckland: My Kirsty, euthanised after suffering a fractured right hock.
– January 12, Christchurch – Hold the flag -euthanised after suffering a fractured leg
– January 15 – Christchurch – Homebush Carra – euthanised after suffering a fractured leg
– January 25 – Opawa Troy died during surgery for an injury
– March 21 – Big Time Falcon – euthanised after suffering significant damage to right hock
– The Greyhound Protection League is running a petition, which asks Parliament to pass legislation to ban greyhound racing and to require all dogs that have been bred for racing be rehomed and rehabilitated.
– Greyhound Racing New Zealand’s 2020 annual report.
– Photos of dogs rescued by the Greyhound Protection League.
– Greyhound racing is legal in only seven countries. A ban in the Australian Capital Territory came into force in April 2018, followed by a ban in Florida, USA, in November 2018. Since Florida is home to 11 of the USA’s 17 active dog tracks, this is a signal that greyhound racing is about to become a thing of the past in the United States.
– Information about greyhound racing in New Zealand.

Health – Auckland Regional Public Health Service commends bold plans to achieve Smokefree Aotearoa 2025

Source: Auckland Regional Public Health Service 
Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is backing the comprehensive legislation proposed in the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan released today.
ARPHS Medical Officer of Health Dr Nick Eichler says reducing the availability of a product that kills over half of its users is one of the most important public health measures the government can take.
“We have not previously regulated who can sell cigarettes and where they can be sold. A licensing approach to the supply of tobacco and limiting the number of sellers is the logical next step to achieve the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 goal,” he says.
ARPHS will be supporting all the proposals in its submission for the Plan’s deadline on World Smokefree Day. The plan to reduce the availability and appeal of tobacco, including significantly removing the nicotine in cigarettes, will help the 70 percent of people who have already tried to stop smoking.
“By removing the addictive element in cigarettes, people who smoke will have greater ability to quit, especially if they see it less often in their neighbourhoods.
“If you are trying to give up or reduce smoking, having tobacco at the counter in every dairy, bottle-shop, supermarket and petrol station makes it virtually impossible,” he says.
There are 1,800 retailers in Auckland, with one for every 80 people who smoke.
“ARPHS has surveyed retailers and found that they expected government restrictions, but wanted these to apply fairly to everyone selling these products,” he says.
Not only is tobacco extremely harmful to health, but it also has significant financial impacts, especially for Maori, Pacific and poorer communities.
Implementing a comprehensive action plan will provide people who smoke the greatest possible support. ARPHS supports the strong push to strengthen Māori governance in tobacco control as the group most affected by tobacco.
“Rather than the industry who profits from this pain, we all have to pay the price of tobacco harm, in hospital admissions, early deaths, fires, and in pollution.
“This plan will save future generations from smoking, our young people will never experience the harm of tobacco addiction,” Dr Eichler says.
While most youth in New Zealand are smokefree, with 3% of 15 to 17 year-olds currently smoking, the proposals will reinforce this major social change.
“The benefits of this courageous plan far outweigh the potential impact to small retailers. It shows that the government is serious about leading the world in protecting New Zealanders’ health,” Dr Eichler says.

Farming – Call a halt to housing eating away at our food production potential – Federated Farmers

Source: Federated Farmers
While the Ministry for the Environment Our Land 2021 report identifies some challenges in front of us, it also includes plenty of positives, Federated Farmers says.
“The fact that 49% of New Zealand remains native land cover is something to be proud of, especially as we get ready for the release of the National Policy Statement Indigenous Biodiversity,” Feds environment spokesperson Chris Allen says.
Our Land 2021, released today, also notes no decline in soil quality from 1994-2018, “and that’s worth acknowledging given the big jump in food production and value from a declining area in farmland. Farmers rely upon good soils, and we’re positive about soil quality improvements to come through good management practices. Federated Farmers would encourage the Ministry for the Environment to use a more current and wider soil data base to determine current soil health across New Zealand, as the data used in this instance seems too small to give an accurate picture.
“While the report indicates New Zealand’s soil profile overall is not improving, we’re at least holding even while farm good management practice begin to bear fruit for our land, out our waterways and emissions,” Chris says. However, the report also sends a strong message to central and local government that urban and lifestyle block expansion is eating away at our primary production potential.
Export earnings from our land-based primary industries shot up 91% from $23 billion in 2010 to $44 billion in 2019. The MfE report notes the government wants those earnings to grow by another $44 billion in the next decade to support post-covid economic recovery.
“That’s a hairy and audacious goal when you consider today’s report also shows that since 2002 nearly 1.9 million hectares has gone out of agriculture and horticulture production.
“Even more tellingly, of our most highly production land (flat, best soils, etc), the amount lost to urban sprawl and lifestyle blocks jumped 54% from 69,920 hectares in 2002 to 107,444 hectares in 2019,” Chris said.
“Any encroachment of residential living onto productive farmland not only means a loss of that farming land, it also has consequences for those farmers who remain. They face higher land values and consequently higher rates, along with increased council rules and restrictions that fall upon them due to increased amenity expectations of those new urban residents.”
Between 2012 and 2017, cattle (dairy/beef) numbers flat-lined at 10.1 million, and sheep numbers further declined from 31 million to 27 million. Fertiliser inputs, including nitrogen, have also been plateauing over the last few years.
“New Zealand’s farmers have again and again proven adept at driving up production from less land and from management and genetic improvements but there comes a time when your run up against limits of nature and efficiency,” Chris said. “The sector is being hammered with all sorts of new regulations and costs, and some farmers are at the end of their financial and mental wellbeing tethers.”
Another important point highlighted by Our Land 2021 is the changing climate and increasing incidence of droughts. Between 2007 and 2017 it is estimated that drought driven by climate change cost New Zealanders $720 million in insured damages and economic losses. Previous national reports have highlighted that annual rainfall was less than average in 9 of the 14 years from 2000-2014, and droughts in 2008, 2013, 2015, 2016 took a significant toll on agricultural production.
“Contrary to perceptions, Our Land 2021 highlights that only about 5% of our agricultural land is irrigated, most of it in Canterbury. The other 95% is dependent on increasingly unreliable rainfall,” Chris said.
“It really does add to the case for increased investment in community water security that Federated Farmers has been pushing for some time now.”