Pests costing economy and environment – RSNZ paper

Weeds, wasps, rats and sea squirts are among a swarm of pests and diseases that represent a growing threat to New Zealand’s economy and environment, according to a new report released this week by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Angry possum. Photo: Animal Health Board.
One of the many pests that threaten NZ’s economy and environment. Credit: DOC/Animal Health Board.

Challenges for pest management in New Zealand is authored by a panel led by Royal Society of New Zealand Fellows and draws on national and international research to explore and discuss the current state of pest management and the unique nature of the New Zealand situation.

“Pests have and are costing the country billions of dollars, both in terms of revenue lost and in control costs. There are also very substantial environmental costs associated with loss of native biodiversity and New Zealand’s clean green reputation,” said Fellow of the Society and co-author of the report, Dr Stephen Goldson.

The report duly acknowledges New Zealand’s leadership in environmentally and socially sensitive pest management, but warns that urgent action is needed to develop new approaches and to improve existing tools to protect the country’s environment and economy.

Specific issues highlighted by the report included the need to improve public engagement, better harnessing of the power of modern information technology and the need to increase our understanding of the biology of pests and their impact.

The report, media release, executive summary and an infographic can be found on the Royal Society of New Zealand website.

The report has received wide spread coverage in the media. Examples include:

Radio New Zealand: Pest control costs NZ economy billions each year
Newstalk ZB: More natural pest-control techniques needed
Otago Daily Times: Need for new tools to control pests in NZ
New Zealand Herald: Grassroots war on pests
Yahoo! NZ News: Calls for Kiwis to step up in fight against pests
3 News: Report: Weeds cost NZ $1b per year
New Zealand Herald: NZ under ‘intense pressure’ from pests