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Labour will move to save the Kauri

Labour will move to save the Kauri

Labour will spend $20 million over the next 10 years to stop the spread of Kauri dieback disease, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe.

“We are facing an ecological disaster with over 11 per cent of the Kauri trees in the Waitakere Ranges infected and thousands of trees killed by the disease.

“Earlier this month Kauri dieback was discovered in the Whangapoua forest in the Coromandel. It is now prevalent in the forests of Northland, and Great Barrier Island.

“Unless we act to stop its spread, this iconic New Zealand species could be wiped out.

“For 18 months now the National Government has refused to commit funding to continue the scientific research and disease control work by iwi, local Councils and DOC. The Ministry of Primary Industries has been considering the option of scaling back the programme, not seeking new budget and leaving iwi and Councils to do the work locally.

“The Government contributed only a little over $4 million to this work over the last five years. Labour is now more than doubling that level of funding.

“Good work has been done in the Waitakere Ranges with intensive control of feral pigs, setting up scrub and spray stations for trampers, surveillance and mapping , and track upgrades. These measures seem to have been successful at stopping the spread of the disease but they have not been implemented in Northland and the Waikato.

“Labour’s pledge of $20 million, supported by funding from Councils and other sources, will allow a programme of around $30 million to extend these measures to Northland and the Waikato.

“Saving the species from this disease demands a serious and committed response, and Labour will deliver just that.”

Ends

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