Minister of Agriculture and Biosecurity Damien O’Connor has hit out at the NAIT system and its manager OSPRI.
Science New Zealand, which represents the country’s seven Crown Research Institutes (CRIs), hosted its inaugural national awards at Parliament earlier in the summer.
The TBfree team at Landcare Research/Manaaki Whenua was recognised for having refined aerial 1080.
Most of the research recognised was funded and directed by OSPRI and its predecessor the Animal Health Board.
The research has clarified the role of various pest species as TB vectors; developed strategies for local elimination of pests and for declaring areas free of TB; and substantially reduced the environmental, non-target and animal welfare risks of pest destruction. The projects included low-cost aerial 1080, TB surveillance, population monitoring, mitigating non-target impacts, the role of deer, pigs and ferrets in TB maintenance, possum spatial model for TB freedom prediction and deer repellents for 1080 baits.
These projects have helped OSPRI shift from a focus on achieving TB-freedom status to a focus on full TB eradication, and helped develop the competitive contracting industry and performance contracts.
Research areas included Waikato, West Coast, Southland, Marlborough, Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay.
In 2013, the Landcare Research team leaders were awarded the Shorland Medal by the New Zealand Association of Scientists for applied science excellence, which recognises the contribution the group has made to the cost-effectiveness and success of mammal pest destruction, especially possums, in the past 20 years.