Misleading comments by Biosecurity New Zealand on Otago wallaby cull called out
The Taxpayers’ Union is calling out Biosecurity NZ for what appear to be misleading statements suggesting that the Otago wallaby cull cost ($2.76 million for 18 animals or $153,000 per wallaby destroyed) is justified on the basis that the number “in no way represented the number killed”.
John Walsh of Biosecurity NZ is reported in today’s Stuff newspapers as saying the kill count no way represented “all the wallabies killed by the programme” and due to wallabies’ nocturnal nature and the remote landscapes, aerial drops were often the best method of killing.
Responding to the comments, Jordan Williams, a spokesman for the Taxpayers’ Union said:
“This is a bait and switch argument from Biosecurity New Zealand. Their own OIA response shows that aerial drops were not used in Otago. While the argument may apply to other regions, this straw man argument is completely misleading when it comes to Otago's $153,000 price tag per wallaby killed.
“John Walsh should correct his statement and apologise. If he feels he was misreported, he should be asking for a correction.
“Instead of trying to justify the unjustifiable, Biosecurity New Zealand should stop wasting taxpayer money with the ‘make work’ scheme that is Jobs for Nature. There are far higher priorities in conservation and biosecurity – let alone health and education – than creating jobs for jobs sake at a time of low unemployment.
"The Jobs for Nature scheme was announced during the early days of COVID-19 when mass unemployment was expected. To date $1.052b has been contracted, leaving a further $167m left to allocate for a false economy ‘creating jobs’ by taxing Kiwis who can then spend less to support other jobs."