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MPI is failing the country's native forests: Forest & Bird

MPI is failing the country's native forests: Forest & Bird

Forest & Bird says that the Ministry for Primary Industries is failing the country's native forests, and a dedicated, independent, and fully-funded biosecurity agency is urgently needed.

In the same morning that MPI lifted a Controlled Area Notice in Taranaki intended to contain and slow the spread of myrtle rust, the Department of Conservation confirmed the fungus has been found for the first time in conservation land, also in Taranaki.

“Myrtle rust is wind borne, but the Controlled Area Notice was helping to contain and slow its spread,” says Forest & Bird spokesperson, Dr Rebecca Stirnemann.

“Today, MPI have walked away and abandoned the Department of Conservation, and the forests of Taranaki, to their fate. More regions are sure to follow. When it comes to protecting native species, MPI’s response to kauri dieback and myrtle rust show they lack the will and expertise to act effectively.

“It is imperative the new Government urgently sets up and funds a dedicated, expert, and independent biosecurity agency to deal with the new threats to our native species that climate change will increasingly bring.

“It is possible to prevent and control these diseases, but MPI has repeatedly failed to do so, even when the risk is as serious as ecosystem collapse. It is past time to urgently recognise MPI’s limited competence in protecting our native species from new diseases”.

ends

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