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About the National Programme

The National Wilding Conifer Control Programme was established in 2016 to ensure a collaborative, coordinated and effective approach to national wilding management. It includes central and local government agencies, and is supported by a wide range of people and organisations.

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Related pages

National Strategy
Research & Analysis
Controlling Wilding Pines 


How the National Programme works

The National Wilding Conifer Control Programme is a truly collaborative initiative. A core team within Biosecurity New Zealand (part of the Ministry for Primary Industries) works day to day with the other partners around the country on all aspects of improving wilding conifer management.

As set out in the national strategy, this includes work on national and regional policies, environmental and operational research, supporting trials of new and improved control methods, education and awareness raising, health and safety management, as well as core support functions like facilitating national advisory groups, responsible finance management and programme management.

The government funds the Programme through Biosecurity New Zealand as the lead agency.  Funding for control operations is distributed through the National Programme to regional partners – regional or district councils, as listed below. They work with local contractors and community Trusts to plan and deliver control work, and update the national database. 

Find out how the wilding control operations are organised.


From 2016 to 2024, the national programme has received $140 million from the government.

Other partners have contributed a further $20 million. (That does not include many volunteer hours, or control work carried out by the forestry industry). 

For more detail about the work carried out with government funding to date, visit https://www.mpi.govt.nz/biosecurity/long-term-biosecurity-management-programmes/wilding-conifers

How funding for control work is prioritised

The national wilding conifer management strategy sets out criteria for deciding where control operations funded through the National Programme should be spent.

The main priorities are:

  • Removing the most spread-prone species
  • Protecting the most vulnerable land and features
  • Cost effectiveness - a ratio of the area that can be controlled and the cost per hectare.

Other factors are also considered such as:

  • Analysis of prior control results and the rates of re-infestation
  • the most urgent risks (biodiversity, water yield, fire risk)
  • protecting the gains made from investment to date.

Prioritisation of funding for control work is always needed because funding is always limited. The Programme partners have to decide where work is most needed and will get the best results.

The highest priority areas are agreed each year through a collaborative process and based on the latest information from each region. This is done jointly by the team at Biosecurity New Zealand, the partner councils and the Technical Advisory Group. The final decisions are agreed by the Governance Group.

What's being achieved?

Since 2016, More than 70% of the total known infestation area nationally has now received at least one round of control work.

Repeat control and ongoing maintenance round are still needed to remove new growth from seeds already in the ground).  All the progress achieved means we are now preparing to start transitioning the first areas to local management, having removed infestations and done follow up control to remove emerging seedlings.

The programme partners have also built the technical capability, workforce, systems and data tools to help achieve the aims of the National Wilding Conifer Management Strategy.

The programme has been shown to give outstanding return on investment. Independent economic analysis estimates an overall benefit-cost ratio of between 20:1 and 34:1 for every dollar invested in controlling wilding infestations and preventing the spread.

However there is still at least a million hectares of land already infested with wilding conifers that is not yet being treated, and still spreading onto vulnerable land. To see how you can help prevent the spread, visit the Controlling Wilding Pines page.

See the progress being made through control operations on a map:

North Island Te Ika-a-Maui  

South Island Te Waipounamu

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Who is involved?

A core team within Biosecurity New Zealand (part of the Ministry for Primary Industries) works day to day with the other partners around the country to deliver all the parts of the National Programme.

Within each region, operations and local connections are led by regional or district councils. They work with their local community on priorities, and contact local contractors and community Trusts to plan and deliver control work.

That's just the start - there are hundreds of people involved in various ways around the country.

Publications from the Programme