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Fight against kauri dieback gets funding boost

Fight against kauri dieback gets funding boost

The fight against kauri dieback has received a welcome funding boost this week. Government has pledged almost $5million for a five-year programme to protect New Zealand’s native kauri.

Kauri dieback (Phytophthora taxon Agathis or PTA) is a disease attacking kauri in the upper North Island and Great Barrier Island. It has been found in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park and other land in Auckland.

“Government’s decision to fund the fight against kauri dieback is very welcome news for everyone who has worked to save kauri. Kauri is one of our most treasured native species and vital to our ecosystem,” says Sandra Coney, Chair of Auckland Regional Council’s (ARC) Parks and Heritage Committee.

The future work programme will include:

· research to improve knowledge of how to detect kauri dieback

· research into what spreads the disease and how, and of control methods

· further education and public awareness campaigns

“The ARC has been working hard to contain the spread of kauri dieback in the Waitakere Ranges, and to protect our other parks and private land in the Auckland region,” she says.

“The injection of another $4.7 million into the programme will make a huge difference.

“We have also valued the extra strength and knowledge that comes from being part of the Joint Agency Response and look forward to working with the other agencies and iwi on the management of this disease into the future.”

The joint response to kauri dieback consists of the ARC, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand, the Department of Conservation, Northland Regional Council, Environment Bay of Plenty and Environment Waikato.

“While the research is underway we still need the public’s help to stop the spread of this deadly disease by keeping to tracks in parks and reserves, cleaning footwear and equipment that has been in kauri forest and staying away from the roots of kauri trees,” says Cr Coney.

“Due to past felling and milling of trees, most kauri now exist only in fragmented pockets and we must protect it from this new threat for future generations.”

Believed to be a soil-borne disease caused by a soil pathogen, the disease is specific to kauri and can kill trees and seedlings of all ages. Affected trees show yellowing leaves, canopy thinning, dead branches and lesions that bleed gum across the lower part of the trunk

More information and reporting of affected trees is available through the Kauri Dieback 0800 number (0800 69 52874) or at www.kauridieback.co.nz


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