New Zealand’s Assistance with Invasive Species Management in the Pacific
Invasive species are one of the biggest threats to development and well-being in the Pacific. They have wide-ranging impacts on economies, the environment, and societies; in addition to causing USD $1.4 trillion of losses each year. Invasive species are also the primary cause of biodiversity loss on islands which could significantly affect the ecosystem services which Pacific Islanders depend on. Every year New Zealand spends NZD $500 million on biosecurity, and Australia has spent AUD $175 million on a single eradication project. In comparison, in the Pacific there are only six people working fulltime on invasive species issues at a regional level and there is limited funding available. This thesis assesses the role of four New Zealand agencies that assist with invasive species management in the Pacific: the International Development Group of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Biosecurity New Zealand division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Department of Conservation, and Landcare Research. Together these agencies provide funding, build capacity, offer technical advice, and occasionally implement projects. While there are important gains to New Zealand in assisting the Pacific with invasive species management, such as a reduced biosecurity threat and learning opportunities for staff, the desire to help the region for its own sake is a major driver. Suggestions for future improvement include having more information on the economic impacts of invasive species in the Pacific, increased coordination between donors, and including invasive species measures in regional trade agreements. It is hoped that New Zealand will continue to play its critical leadership role in invasive species management in the region.