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Money for Kauri Urgently Needed

The Tree Council, Waitakere Ranges Protection Society and Forest & Bird have written to Ministers O’Connor, Sage, Jones and Parker this week to request urgent funding for Regional Councils to implement essential work to protect kauri.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has failed to deliver the National Pest Management Plan and Kauri Dieback Management Agency despite two years of public consultation on the proposals and now has been dropped by the government as managers of the national Kauri Dieback Management Programme.

In its place the Regional Councils led by Northland and including Auckland and Waikato have stepped up to fill the void, manage the national programme and implement the outcomes of the draft National Pest Management Plan, which is fantastic news and will be a huge step forward in the protection of kauri that has been missing for the last decade.

However in order for the Regional Councils to be able to do this work effectively they need financial support from the government to fund operational work such as surveillance, vector control, hygiene and track upgrades. MPI’s bid to cabinet for a business as usual programme failed this year and they are now not funded to manage any of this work. The Regional Councils will bear the costs of administering and managing the programme themselves, avoiding the need for a national Management Agency to do this and saving the government an estimated $20-60m. The proposal by Northland Regional Council will create 100 jobs in the community to do the work on the ground.

The Tree Council’s Secretary Dr Mels Barton says “this is the best news for kauri that we’ve had in a decade. It is fantastic that the Regional Councils have stepped up to take control of implementing all the actions we have been demanding that MPI do for so long. The government needs to urgently support them to succeed by funding this work to give kauri a fighting chance of survival. Any further delays will threaten the future of this taonga species and bring it to the brink of extinction. In New Zealand’s Covid recovery what better gift to the nation than the protection of this iconic and unique species”.

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