Making New Zealand Predator Free by 2050 is an audacious goal and it will be expensive but we could adopt a cunning plan used in Scotland to help pay for it.
Highland Titles is conserving Scotland one square foot at a time by selling plots of land from 1 square foot to 1,000 square feet in Glencoe Wood and Mountainview Bumblebee Haven.
Buyers get a personal right to a plot of land, complete with a precise Ordnance Survey grid reference, a certificate, plot ID card, landowner’s handbook and the right to call themselves Lady, Lord or Laird of Glencoe.
Highland Titles Limited remains the registered owner of the land which it manages as a nature reserve.
Highland Titles is owned by a charitable trust which ensures that the land can only ever be used for conservation purposes.
The idea of private funding of public conservation land could be controversial but the Highland Titles model would ensure that while owners got personal rights to the land, its ownership was retained by the state.
The campaign to buy Awaroa Beach and gift it to the state shows the New Zealanders are prepared to put their money into public land.
It wouldn’t be hard to sell locals and tourists the idea of conserving New Zealand square metre by square metre and put the money raised towards making the country predator free.
I’d be up for at least one plot in Aspiring National Park.