When Central Otago farmer Gerry Eckhoff was an Act MP he suggested changing the law to allow kiwi farming.
He pointed out that farmed animals don’t number among the endangered species; and it would be better for the future survival rate of the birds and relieve the taxpayer of a cost if farmers looked after kiwi than leaving their fate to DOC and nature.
The idea of farming another native species, the weka, has now been raised by Roger Beattie.
Federated Farmers is supportive. Game spokesman Donald Aubrey said:
It’s ironic that the Chatham Islands take a far more enlightened view to the consumption of weka and to the farming of trout. Crazily, despite having one of the world’s most easily farmed and popular fish to consume, mainland New Zealand treats an introduced species as being more of a native than our native eels.
“It’s time to unleash our entrepreneurs, represented by Mr Beattie. Domesticating some native species – aquatic or terrestrial – actually removes pressure off the wild populations.
“I see Roger Beattie as being in the same mould as the likes of Sir Peter Jackson and Weta’s Richard Taylor. Those two were told a big budget Hollywood film would never be filmed in New Zealand but have proved the naysayers wrong.
“Roger Beattie is told can’t but he replies can and without any subsidies too. Let’s face it, if the weka was instead a turkey, it would make us look like one for not trying,” Mr Aubrey concluded.
We need to stop being precious about native species, it will be better for the birds and the economy.
Trout aren’t native to New Zealand and the arguments against farming them hold as little water as those against farming weka.
Offsetting Behaviour is unimpressed that vague unease enables the idea to be vetoed and Roarprawn gives a guide to how some native birds taste.