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Source: Department of Conservation

With the launch of the Predator Free 2050 strategy: ‘Towards a Predator Free New Zealand’, we’re doing a series of blogs about the pathways identified in the strategy which are going to help us get to Predator Free.

By Brent Beaven, Programme Manager Predator Free 2050

I always thought policy and legislation were boring.

So it was with trepidation that I entered the first collaborative meeting for the Predator Free policy and legislation workstream.

This workstream was set up to make sure that New Zealand has the right legislation and policy tools to deliver a Predator Free New Zealand.

Image: Peta Carey; Brent and a tīeke (saddleback)

The goal is to make sure policy people in agencies such as DOC, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Land Information New Zealand, regional councils and the Ministry for the Environment could come together and make sure that collectively New Zealand’s regulatory framework supports Predator Free 2050.

This group quickly identified that there is lots of relevant work underway, including creation of New Zealand’s Biodiversity Strategy, a review of the Biosecurity Act 1993 and review of the resource management system.

The tricky thing is that while there’s a need for environmental scanning, (which means looking across the policy and regulatory environment for opportunities as they arise), there is also a need – a hugely pressing one, actually – to act now, because if we don’t we will miss the opportunity to influence what is already underway.

The group called this a no-regrets approach.

Image: Peta Carey; Brent and a tīeke (saddleback)

The no-regrets approach means, for example, if we don’t engage in the review of the Biosecurity Act to look at things like pest management plans, unwanted organism classifications and border control we will lose the opportunity to make these work better for Predator Free.

It’s an ‘act now, because we have to’ situation.

Policy people are conceptual folk, so while other groups came up with more linear action plans, the policy collaboration designed their action plan as a river.

And lest you worry that policy folk are impractical people, spending too much time navel gazing, they signalled a strong need to work with our Treaty Partner in designing the proposed approaches, and the need to test their approaches against real world examples.

For example, if Rakiura (Stewart Island) becomes Predator Free, what are the regulations that may be needed to establish a border biosecurity system to keep it that way?

Image: Peta Carey; Brent and a tīeke (saddleback)

I came away with the knowledge that whilst policy and legislation may not be everyone’s cup of tea (and some of us may prefer trapping predators or monitoring species), it is nevertheless critical … dare I say an unsung hero?

The Predator Free 2050 strategy: ‘Towards a Predator Free New Zealand’ is about returning the voice of the insects, bats, reptiles and birds back to the forests, farmlands, towns, cities and coasts.

And policy and legislation, (while not always jazzy), is a key pathway to get us there.

I feel strongly that the no-regrets approach is one that we can get behind.

Ngā mihi,


Here’s Brent talking about the three main phrases of the Predator Free 2050 Strategy: mobilise, innovate and accelerate.

For more about the PF2050 strategy, including a run through of the tools that are going to get us there, visit