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Anger as Morgan goes public with his Cats to Go campaign

Published: 7:16AM Thursday February 21, 2013

The issue of a cat free New Zealand continues to divide people with some storming out of a public meeting last night.

Millionaire businessman Gareth Morgan has held the first of a string of meetings to discuss his proposal to clamp down on cats.

While some attended the meeting to learn more about Morgan's campaign, others used it as a chance to protest.

Morgan says feral cats are a growing pest problem in New Zealand and he wants them off the streets.

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Around 100 people turned up to the first meeting in the Wellington suburb of Karori - near the wildlife sanctuary Zealandia.

The eco reserve houses dozens of native birds and Morgan says it's also NZ's most expensive cat food factory.

He says roaming cats are killing our wildlife.

The Cats to Go campaigner wants to turn Karori into the country's first confined cat suburb.

"I want cats to be confined so we don't have cats wandering around killing things. Because we know 50% of their kill they just kill for the pleasure of it."

The businessman denies claims he wants to get rid of all the cats in New Zealand although the campaign encourages cat owners not to replace their cats when they die in order to protect native bird species.

"I don't care how many cats you have as pets, as long as you confine them in compounds in your own section, or indoors," Morgan said last night

But he says if cats are found stray or roaming there needs to be a pound to take them to and "if they're not claimed within seven days, they're euthanised".

The website says New Zealand without cats would be "a New Zealand teeming with native wildlife".

Morgan's campaign has been backed by some conservationists but has also generated a backlash amongst cat owners and the SPCA.