Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith is delighted the DOC-led community eradication of the great white butterfly has been declared a success.
“We should be incredibly proud that Nelson has achieved the first ever eradication of an unwanted butterfly population in the world. It is a tribute to the skilled staff of DOC, the Ministry for Primary Industries, research institutions and the strong community support.
“An eradication of this sort is incredibly challenging, with hundreds of butterflies breeding across private properties and it requiring only one to be missed for the eradication to be unsuccessful. It has now been two years since any have been seen, leading scientists to conclude the eradication has been successful.
“An independent assessment estimated an infestation of the great white butterfly would cost the horticulture industry between $43 million and $133 million a year, be a pest for home gardens and pose a major risk to 79 native species.
“I particularly pay tribute to the children who supported the $10 butterfly bounty in 2013 and the many gardeners and property owners who backed the Government effort to eradicate this pest.
“There are positive lessons to learn from Nelson’s experience with the great white butterfly. People need to be vigilant in supporting New Zealand’s biosecurity in their own travels and in encouraging our growing tourist numbers to also take care. We also need people to be alert to new infestations because the earlier we respond the more likely eradication will be successful.
“The success in eradicating these great white butterflies should encourage our ambition go to after other introduced pests, such as the German wasp,” Dr Smith concluded.