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Kauri Dieback Budget fails Auckland’s Forests

Media Statement

Monday 19 May 2014

Kauri Dieback Budget fails Auckland’s Forests

Funding announced in last Thursday’s Budget gives some certainty for further research into Kauri Dieback (Phytopthera taxon Agathis or PTA), and starts to address human impacts and spread of the disease in the conservation estate, but does not go far enough, says Waitakere Ranges Protection Society President John Edgar.

“The National Government have risen to the challenge set by the Labour Party’s commitment to addressing Kauri Dieback disease, by announcing $26.5million over four years, but it fails Auckland’s Kauri forests, a site of significant infection and huge visitor pressure” says Mr Edgar.

“The budget allocates funding for boardwalks in DoC forests, which may do more harm than good, bringing in more visitors, and built structures, potentially impacting tree roots. At the same time this response is inadequate for dealing with the threat affecting all Kauri, including those outside DoC land”, says Mr Edgar. “We know that non-DoC forests such as in the Waitakere Ranges, and also on private land, are significant sites of Kauri Dieback infection. It appears that the Government are abrogating responsibility for wider Kauri ecosystems and focusing only on their own patch. That’s negligent and irresponsible, given the threats to Kauri and the importance of these trees to wider habitat values and to the nation”. “The Government’s budget funding should address Kauri Dieback at large. To ignore non-DoC kauri forests is to consign those to decline and creates a two tier management system – DoC, and others. That’s just not good enough”. “We need a systematic, comprehensive approach to Kauri Dieback, not one isolated to just the national conservation estate”.

“Kauri Dieback is an insidious killer, affecting the upper North Island’s most significant forest giants, and in need of urgent attention. We’re pleased to see some acknowledgement of the seriousness of the Kauri Dieback problem. But we remain concerned that the funding announced in last week’s budget fails so much of infected forest, outside the Department of Conservation estate”.

“Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges Regional Parkland includes the most significant Kauri tracts in the region and attracts 2.6million visitors annually. The Ranges are a high risk area for Kauri Dieback, including infection, but also transfer. That’s why we need to deal with Kauri Dieback on all potentially affected land, not just on the conservation estate”.

ENDS


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