Taxpayers’ Union Hopping Mad Over Wallaby Waste

Extract from recent Taxpayers’ Union Newsletter

Update from the Taxpayers' Union.jpeg

Hopping mad: COVID-19 funding to ‘destroy’ wallabies for $153,000 a pop

After almost six months’ worth of excuses, transfers and extensions on an Official Information Act request sent back in November, your humble Taxpayers’ Union has revealed that taxpayers and Otago ratepayers have forked out more than $2.76 million and employed over 26,000 hours of work to ‘destroy’ (that’s the term the bureaucrats use) just… 18 wallabies! That’s a kill cost of $153,000 per wallaby. 

This was just one of the ‘Jobs for Nature’ projects funded by the COVID slush fund. Jobs for Nature was allocated $1.2 billion – that’s $614 for every kiwi household –  as a ‘make work’ scheme when the Government feared we would see mass job losses as a result of the pandemic.

Despite record-low unemployment and an economy overcooked by Government spending, the fund has continued to dish out taxpayer money to ineffective ‘conservation’ projects at an average cost of around $200,000 per ‘nature job’. 

There is still $167 million yet to be spent: We say this should stop. 

Jordan spoke about this wasteful spending with Newstalk ZB’s Heather Du Plessis-Allan.


The story was also covered in the Otago Daily Times and Stuff’s Dominion Post. 

Wallaby Tear Strip.jpeg

Hopping to it: officials defend spending with misleading spin

John Walsh of Biosecurity New Zealand (the government agency responsible for this project) defended the spending arguing “it’s not wasted money”. Walsh was quoted in Stuff newspapers as saying the kill count no way represented “all the wallabies killed by the programme” and due to wallabies’ nocturnal nature and the remote landscapes, aerial drops were often the best method of killing. 

We called out these misleading comments pointing to the official information response provided by his agency that showed that no aerial drops were actually used in Otago…

It is clear that this project, alongside many others supported through the Jobs for Nature fund, have no ambition in delivering meaningful outcomes for New Zealand’s environment on a restrained budget.



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9 Responses to Taxpayers’ Union Hopping Mad Over Wallaby Waste

  1. "Kurow local" says:

    This is typical of bureaucrats in this case, Biosecurity NZ and Otago Regional Council, highly exaggerating to justify their jobs and salaries. If Biosecurity NZ did a bit of simple homework they would find the Bennett’s Wallaby, were introduced to Waimate from Australia in 1874 for the fur trade.
    So the wallabies have been there for just on 150 years. There is no reason for panic. In the 150 years, the spread has been at glacial pace.

  2. J Buchan says:

    What is wrong and irresponsible is the powers that be fanning the flames of panic about wild animals. Wild animals are a resource. Why not harvest the wallabies for making pet food or the meat for pie filling and human consumption?
    As for Biosecurity NZ’s ‘s suggestion of aerial poison drops presumably with 1080, that is ignorant and irresponsible.

  3. J B Smith says:

    The Taxpayers’ Union are right on the button in exposing the gross misuse of taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ money.

  4. Justice Will B. Dunn. says:

    Wow, I’ll do it for a mere $100,000 per wallaby, a massive discount! At the rate of one per day it might take me the rest of eternity but my children can inherit my role due to the precedent set by Minister Mahuta to favour family over anything else. Hmm, think of all the wonderful new toys I can buy, new cars, boats, maybe even a helo! Oh! Manna from heaven!

  5. Dr. Charlie Baycroft says:


    I have an idea that might help reduce the cost of hunting a Wallaby.

    We could establish an affordable, efficient, fair and reasonable firearms system that
    PROMOTES AND ENCOURAGES the competent and safe ownership and use of firearms by responsible citizens.

    People that were interested in firearms, shooting and hunting would be required to have some training from experiences shooters at gun clubs and shooting ranges. They would be apporoved by their peers when they demonstrated accpetable accuracy and understanding of the simple safety rules.

    Once approved by other responsible shooters, a person could apply for and be granted a firearms license, unless they had a criminal record indicating they were a risk to the safety of other people or their property.

    Renewal of licenses would be simple and inexpensive.
    People that had been convicted of offences against other people of their property would have had their licenses revoked by the police and courts and those who had not would have their renewed.

    Young men and women would be encouraged to learn firearms safety and competence by experienced adults and also to learn to hunt, fish and become active members of the OUTDOORS COMMUNITY who would willingly and cost-effectively manage the numbers of overabundent introduced species such as Wallabys, rabbits, hares, deer and possums.

    This would enable taxpaying workers to receive some real value for the money they provide for the people in our governments to spend.

    Responsible citizens who hunt, fish and enjoy firearms shoulkd not be criticized, vilified, discriminated against or criminalized by prejudiced government legislation.

    These outdoors activities are an important aspect of our CULTURE AND HERITAGE and a consequence of THE DNA we inherited from our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

    Menbers of the OUTDOORS COMMUNITY have no reason to feel guilt or shame or justify what they do if they are responsible and do not harm other people or their property.

    There are probably more than 500,000 people who hunt, fish and enjoy firearms or would like to but they have no appropriate representatives in their government.

    These unrepresented citizens need to develop and display OUTDOORS PRIDE and become more politically responsible and active in supporting the people in the ACT party or others who respect and would effectively represent them in their government.

    The members of our Outdoors Community need to oppose the prejudice and discrimination against them by displaying their OUTDOORS PRIDE and becoming responsibly politically active before access to the things they enjoy is competely taken from them.

    There is no need or justification for civil disobedience or violence becasuse involvement in and support for the people in ACT and/or other sympathetic political parties would be successful if enough people tried.

    There is nothing wrong with responsibly hunting, fishing or having firearms.

    There is nothing wrong with the numerous people in the OUTDOORS COMMUNITY except their failure to be politically aware, involved, active and influential in choosing proper people to represent them in their government.

    When deciding who to support and vote for we ought to ask ourselves a simple question.
    Does this candidate and the influential people in this political party respect the people of the Outdoors Community and their natural rights to life, liberty, personal property and ownership of their own bodies?

  6. David Tranter says:

    This recalls years ago during the time when rabbiters were employed to cull the little beasts, one of these chaps told me how they had the numbers under control – so the bureaucrats stopped the entire control programme. As is the way of rabbits their numbers rapidly assumed plague proportions again. What is it about bureaucrats (and politicians) that they can’t see the obvious, in this case that their possum control agenda is utterly insane?

  7. Bud jones JonesQSM says:

    We must be clear. Anytime a a money bucket slops its contents into a trough, noses will appear to suck it up.The aim is to convert this slop into blue ribbons of fleshy results, so that the bucket appears again to up end its contents to produce fat blue ribbon results, & round we go again. In back room cubicles, nerdy folks with sharp pencils scratch away on lined tablets or tap furiously on buttons until an appealing bucket to blue ribbon ratio is appealing to the one cranking the handle of the slop machine, where upon nerdy one rushes forth with a quaint appealing phrase,”value for slop, [money]” However, peeling back a bit as Porgy & Bess sing, “It Ain’t necessarily So”
    Take another one, the transfer of roughly 100 billion of taxpayer public wealth to racist elite tribal Iwi to satisfy Treaty Settlements of conjured up wrongs committed against a small group of our citizens calling themselves moedis. Now would you call it value for money when that same group proudly announce their intentions to take over the country “one way or another” !Kind of makes the wallaby deal look a blue ribbon deal by comparison!

  8. Bud jones JonesQSM says:

    I see David above here points out what rabbits do in the shadows?
    A closer look reveals they’re buckin’ like funnies!

  9. Stewart Hydes says:

    “Kurow Local” is 100% correct.
    Wallaby were originally introduced – and as is typical of our introduced species, their populations must continue to be managed. Their feral range has been fairly well-controlled in recent decades, with only reasonably gradual spread outside of the Hunter Hills.
    If there has been an accelerated spread in more recent years, there is a good reason for that. When the Wallaby Board was scrapped – in favour of Farmers and others doing their own “pest control” – the tight focus on making sure none escaped the perimeter of their feral range was lost.
    And now we see the consequences.
    People talk of Wallaby eradication .. and the example of this 2.76 million for 18 Wallaby illustrates why that may never happen.
    To get a species from “high numbers” down to “moderate to low numbers” is quite easy – and with the tens of thousands of Wallaby taken by Recreational Hunters in South Canterbury (and the considerable capacity for Recreational Hunters to shoot more Wallaby, if given the opportunity and access to do so), this can be achieved at much-reduced cost to taxpayers and ratepayers.
    But then the cost of population reduction – with the goal of eradication – starts to go exponential.
    A few years ago, a senior Landcare Research Team Leader estimated the cost of species eradication called for by Predator Free 2050 at $200-400,000 per hectare. That is $1.6 trillion for the 8 million hectares of public land administered as conservation land by DOC alone .. before even starting on the rest of NZ’s total land area of 26 million hectares.
    Quite frankly, eradication of establised species (such as Wallaby, Goats, Possums, Rats, Mustelids, Deer, Tahr, Pigs, Feral Cats etc) on mainland New Zealand is the stuff of dreams – and those responsible for peddling the nonsense of it – are both reckless and irresponsible, in their attitude towards taxpayers’ money.
    But for as long as people are getting to buy and pay off toys (like helicoptors, side-by-sides, quad motorbikes, four-wheel-drives, and the semi-automatic rifles they are still allowed to have), pay mortgages, and to swan about in our great outdoors “living the life of riley” while wasting taxpayers’ / ratepayers’ money .. just so long as they ever-so-occasionally manage to account for a Wallaby or two .. we will continue to have our passionate advocates for the nonsense we occasionally get glimpses of.
    As already mentioned, this example of 2.76 million for 18 Wallaby illustrates why.

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