Wilding pine control efforts praised for exceeding expectations
Visit RNZ's website for the full article by Sally Round
In last year's budget the government set aside $100 million for a four-year project to control wilding pines.
Biosecurity minister Damien O'Connor said the programme had made huge strides in it's first year - tackling more than half of its four-year target.
"Control crews and community projects treated 817,000 hectares from Te Taitokerau Northland to Motupōhue Bluff and created more than 1000 full or part-time jobs," O'Connor said.
"This success shows that concerted and co-ordinated efforts are succeeding in bringing large-scale wilding conifer infestations under control.
Wilding conifers cost New Zealand around $100 million every year in lost productivity, lost water for irrigation and hydro-electricity generation, and the costs of fire prevention and control.
O'Connor said central to the success of control efforts was co-ordination of resources and a collaborative model.
One of the groups working to control wilding pines is Wilding Free Mackenzie, which works under The Canterbury Regional Council (ECAN)
Community co-ordinator Haeleigh Turner said there was huge interest from farmers and community groups to get involved in the control programme.
"If wilding pines become established, they soak up a lot of groundwater, which means there's less available for say irrigation and agriculture," Turner said....
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