Labour will protect our iconic native kauri by rolling out a National Pest Management Plan, the strongest form of protection under the Biosecurity Act, to combat kauri dieback disease.
“Our kauri forests are among the most ancient in the world, are a taonga for Māori, protect local ecosystems and they’re under threat from kauri dieback,” Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern said.
“Kauri dieback was first identified in New Zealand in 2008 and since then the government has been working to stop the spread such as issuing Controlled Area Notices in the Waitakere and Hunua Ranges, investing in science and research projects, upgrading tracks, putting in place cleaning stations and restricting the movement of soil and plants.
“There is great work being done across the country, but we have the opportunity to do more to protect our forest giants, their wide ecosystems and the beautiful clean, green brand that makes us proud,” Jacinda Ardern said.
To implement the plan, Labour will invest an additional $32 million over five years. This funding will complement the existing funding streams for kauri dieback.
Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor said a National Pest Management Plan is the strongest tool available under the Biosecurity Act.
“Since 2018 extensive consultation has been carried out with iwi, council partners, and others to discuss a National Pest Management Plan for kauri. Labour is committing to introducing one for kauri to ensure their survival.
“It is a legal framework that will bring together the work of government, councils, Iwi and NGOs under a new umbrella agency that will oversee all activity regarding the spread of kauri dieback. It ensures everyone is at the decision-making table and involved in the strategic direction and day-to-day response.
“There are currently three NPMPs in place, for Psa-V in kiwifruit, Bovine Tuberculosis and American Foulbrood in bees. They have been extremely useful in ensuring there is coordinated strategic planning, which is what we need to stop the spread of kauri dieback.
“Over the past three years the Government has invested over $60 million for science and research efforts to combat kauri dieback, and in the current financial year, Biosecurity New Zealand and the Department of Conservation have allocated over $14 million to protect kauri.
“Kauri are a cornerstone of the indigenous forests of the upper North Island, and play a vital role in supporting other native trees and shrubs including tōtara, tānekaha and rewarewa, with orchids and epiphytic plants often found perching in their branches.
“The decisions we make today will be critical for the future of these mighty trees and the ecosystems they support,” Damien O’Connor said.
Notes to editor - the development of an NPMP will build on the current Kauri Dieback Programme. This is a partnership between Biosecurity New Zealand, the Department of Conservation, Auckland Council, the Northland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Councils, Te Roroa, and Tangata Whenua Roopu.
The programme, established in 2009, has undertaken a considerable amount of work. This has included the commissioning of about 70 science and research projects, upgrading of tracks, placing cleaning stations in high use areas, tightening regulatory restrictions on the movement of soil and plant material, and educational and behaviour change initiatives.