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Kauri dieback made worse by inadequate response

‘Kauri dieback made worse by inadequate response from Government’ says Waitakere Ranges Protection Society.

‘Kauri dieback disease is getting out of control in our iconic native forests” says John Edgar, President of the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society “and it’s made worse by the absence of an adequate and timely response from Government”.

Yesterday it was announced that ‘Kauri dieback disease’ or Phytophthora Taxon Agathis (PTA) has now been found in Whangapoua forest in the Coromandel ranges, in addition to its presence in the Waitakere Ranges, Great Barrier Island and other parts of the Auckland and Northland regions. ‘The disease is becoming widespread in our treasured forests, and out of control. Government funding
is inadequate already given the established state of the disease and its spread throughout kauri ecoystems’ says Mr Edgar.

“The disease was first discovered in the Waitakere Ranges in 2007, but the Government’s response has been slow, and funding uncertain. What we need is a rapid ramp-up of capacity for governing organisations to deal with this plague. But despite delegations from regional and local councils to the government seeking additional support, none has been forthcoming. Even with yesterday’s announcement about the spread of Kauri dieback to the Coromandel Ranges, the Government is waiting until June’s budget round to decide whether additional funding will be made available to deal with the disease”. “That’s not the urgent response required. How much more will Kauri dieback spread in the meantime?”

“The Government granted five years funding for dealing with Kauri dieback in 2009, but it was too little given the extent of the disease. Agencies have struggled to investigate and adequately respond to Kauri dieback, and now new incursions are being found. We wonder how much more disease is already in our much-loved forests, affecting rickers through to thousand year old giants. We question when an appropriate response will be forthcoming from the State given the gravity of the situation,” says Mr Edgar.

“The Waitakere Ranges Protection Society have been advocating for a proper response from the Government since the discovery of the disease, but the threats it poses to both mighty individuals and the complex Kauri ecosystem seem not to be taken seriously by the Government’. “They’ve found funds to bail out multi-national commercial enterprises like Rio Tinto, but not to save our own forests?” “In the meantime activities that spread the disease, including bush-running events such as the Hillary Trail Ultra Marathon in the Waitakere Ranges, continue to gain consent from the Auckland Council”. Mr Edgar asks “What will it take to get a proper response from the Government?” “Will they just leave it until it’s too late and then give up, which seems to be the trend at present”.

“The Government is just not dealing with this situation with the seriousness it
eserves”. “There’s no point in just locking up the forests from the public and failing to deal with the disease. That’s a ‘lose-lose’ for everyone.” We’re calling for the Government to step-up on Kauri dieback”.


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