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Funding pledge Kauri’s Best Hope Yet

Funding pledge Kauri’s Best Hope Yet

‘The funding for ‘Kauri Die Back’ (PTA or Phytopthera Taxon Agathis) promised by the Labour Party yesterday is the trees’ best hope yet’ says Waitakere Ranges Protection Society (WRPS) President, John Edgar.

Labour leader David Cunliffe yesterday announced funding of $20million over the next ten years to fight the killer disease which has hit 11% of the Waitakere’s kauri, and infected forests from Northland to Coromandel and Great Barrier Island.

John Edgar from WRPS said it was appropriate that the Labour leader announced the Party’s commitment to addressing Kauri Die Back at Colin McCahon’s heritage cottage amidst kauri in the Waitakeres, as the property too has suffered from the disease. A core working group made of councils, iwi and DoC, have been attempting to discover the cause and find a remedy for Kauri Die Back since its discovery in the Waitakere Ranges. But much progress is thwarted by ongoing discovery of significant spread of the disease and trouble identifying a cure.

“The Labour Party’s funding commitment of $20million over the next ten years, supplemented with a further $10million from Councils and other sources, gives confidence and hope that a solution will be found”. “Otherwise, we’re just waiting to see whether the present Government decides kauri are a priority, as current funding runs out in June. In contrast with Labour’s $20million, only $4.7million was allocated for the previous five year period, and it’s clear that was inadequate given the way the disease has spread”.

“Labour’s pledge is a good reflection of the scale of the problem”, says Mr Edgar.

“Kauris are loved by New Zealanders and visitors alike. We need to find ways that save the forests and the trees. But at present many of our magnificent kauri forests don’t even have phytosanitary stations – mats, scrubbers and spray to try to prevent the spread of the disease. This promised level of funding is essential. It’s probably the least we need, but the best hope so far”.


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