7 Nov 2011

Farmers take issue with Dunne on geese control

1:52 pm on 7 November 2011

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson lifted the protected game bird status of Canada Geese earlier this year to allow landowners to cull the bird themselves.

Farmers had lobbied the government for that decision because of the large amount of pasture and crops the birds eat or spoil.

United Future leader Peter Dunne says before that decision, Fish and Game had been managing the geese population well.

He says taxpayers will now foot the bill.

However, a Federated Farmers spokesperson Bob Douglas says the application for a one-off $100,000 payment has been requested by a group made up of interested parties, including city councils and hunters as well as farmers.

He says they would be using volunteers to do some of the ground culls and the cost comes from aerial culls, which can kill twice as many birds as ground culls but at double the cost.

Mr Douglas says the bulk of the money would go to the aerial cull to pay for experienced aircraft operators.

He says there are about 30,000 Canada Geese in the South Island and with funding the summer cull would reduce the number by a third.