3 Oct 2016

Plans to boost kiwi numbers above 100k

9:48 pm on 3 October 2016

Plans to grow the wild kiwi population to more than 100,000 by 2030 have been unveiled by the government.

Little Spotted Kiwi

The Kiwi Recovery Plan will receive $11.2 million in funding. Photo: Supplied: Zealandia

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced the draft Kiwi Recovery Plan at the Zealandia sanctuary in Wellington today.

"This plan focuses on growing the wild kiwi population and building on the work achieved under previous plans, rather than steadying or managing decline," Ms Barry said.

Currently there are almost 70,000 kiwi in the wild, with stoats and dogs mainly to blame for a decline of about 2 percent a year.

Ms Barry said the plan was being paid for out of $11.2 million that was earmarked for kiwi conservation in last year's budget.

"The plan has three high-level goals: growing populations, maintaining genetic diversity and restoring the bird's former distribution back into safe habitats throughout New Zealand.

"So that $11.2m will be spread out over several years, and it will ensure that we can get that population up to plus 2 percent in [that] hard-to-reach South Island wilderness country."

Ms Barry said the Department of Conservation's work showed that where kiwi were managed, a 2 percent population growth could be achieved.

"This government is not prepared to accept that our national bird is at any ongoing risk of potentially becoming extinct in their natural habitat," she said.

It was expected the draft Kiwi Recovery Plan would be finalised early next year.