Trevor Mallard: 'I'm absolutely certain that at some point
in the future, a whole pile of species that area currently
extinct will be brought back to life.'
Moa up to 1.8m tall roaming the Rimutaka Forest Park
above Wainuiomata could be a reality in the next 50 to 100
years and a tourism boost for the local community, but raising
the idea has opened local Labour MP Trevor Mallard to ridicule.
"We could again see a snapshot of New Zealand as it once was
before the arrival of humans," Mr Mallard told the
Wainuiomata Business Development Breakfast this morning.
"I know that this all sounds a bit like a scene from Jurassic
Park. But it is going to happen."
Mr Mallard extolled the breakthroughs in science around
bringing back extinct species, highlighting the Spanish
bucardo ibex and the gastric-brooding frog in Australia as
The ibex was crossed with a related species and the resulting
embryo was brought to term, though the animal died shortly
after birth. The frog egg successfully divided several times,
though did not form a viable foetus.
Labour leader David Cunliffe did little to support his caucus
"I don't think this one's going to fly. There's a lot of
scientific work to go under the bridge before moas are going
to be flopping around in Wainuiomata.
"The moa's not a goer."
Prime Minister John Key joked that there were a few moas in
the Labour caucus already, while senior minister Steven Joyce
facetiously called it "inspired thinking".
"Why stop there? Why not bring back some old Labour Party
prime ministers ... some extra talent for their caucus. This
is a huge vista of opportunity," Mr Joyce said.
But Mr Mallard insisted de-extinction was inevitable.
"I'm absolutely certain that at some point in the future, a
whole pile of species that area currently extinct will be
brought back to life ... The moa will be a goer, but we're
talking to 50 to 100 years out."
He stressed that he did not want 240kg, 3.5m-tall moa roaming
the hills behind Wainuiomata.
"They would be dangerous. But the ones 1.3m-tall (and
1.8m-tall) don't weight much more than turkeys. I'd like ones
I could pat on the head, rather than the ones that are going
to bowl us over."
He said there were parallels with Jurassic Park, "which of
course most of us thought of as absolutely impossible and
"I'm absolutely serious that we should be taking advantage of
science as it develops. A lot of people pooh-poohed early
scientists, but this work is something which is logical, it
is already happening around the world, and in New Zealand ...
we should at least start talking about it."
He said it was not official Labour Party policy, nor a
diversion from more important political issues.
"I don't think this is a distraction at all. It's a minor,
- Derek Cheng of the New Zealand Herald