On Tuesday 8 September Minister for Biosecurity Damien O’Connor announced the Wilding Conifer Control Programme’s operational control areas for the 2020-21 financial year. This follows the Budget 2020 announcement of $100 million allocated for wilding pines over the next four years, as part of Jobs for Nature.
$36 million from Budget 2020 will be spent in the next twelve months alone, allowing us to significantly expand on previous years’ activity. The funding boost means the Government’s control programme will increase from 19 to 62 sites - including both long-term projects (led by regional councils) and smaller community partnership projects. Combined, the work programme will take on more than 800,000 hectares of wilding infestations, generating up to 550 new jobs.
The new funding will see an increase in control work throughout the country. In the North Island, $1.5 million has been allocated to ten projects Northland, and $3.2 million is allocated to tackle more than 170,000 hectares of infestations throughout the Hawkes Bay, Waikato and Bay of Plenty.
The majority of funding will remain in the South Island. The top of the South will see over $5.1 million of work across Marlborough and Nelson Tasman. Canterbury receives the lion’s share of funding, with $17.2 million for projects in the Mackenzie Basin, West Canterbury, North Canterbury and Banks Peninsula.
In Queenstown, $4.55 million is allocated for projects throughout the Remarkables, Shotover River, Wakatipu and Kawarau. Otago will see $1.04 million for work throughout Alexandra, Dunstan, Lammermoor, Northern Eyre, Rough Ridge and the Ida and Saint Mary's ranges. Finally, $3.25 million has been allocated to Southland to support ongoing work in Mid Dome and Flagstaff, and to support community projects on Bluff Hill/Motupohue.
In many of these areas work is already well underway and will continue to ramp up as we move into spring.