$16m new funding to tackle wilding conifers
Budget 2016 provides $16 million of new operating funding over four years to tackle wilding conifers, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry say.
“These invasive trees are a major threat to our ecosystems, land and farms. They spread fast and are very hard to eradicate once established,” Mr Guy says.
“Wilding conifers compete with native flora and fauna for sunlight and water, and can severely alter natural landscapes. This funding will help protect productive land, the tourism and forestry sectors, and sensitive water catchments from the impacts of this tree pest.”
The new funding will be used to control wilding conifers in the highest priority areas. These are likely to include Molesworth Station, headwaters of Southern Alps lakes and rivers, the Wakatipu Basin, and the North Island’s central plateau.
It will also support greater collaboration between the Crown, regional councils, community groups, land owners, and foresters.
“Wildings are the most significant weed problem New Zealand faces – and the number one target of the War on Weeds,” Ms Barry says.
“Wilding conifers currently cover more than 1.8 million hectares of land, and are spreading at an estimated rate of 5 per cent a year.”
The new funding provided in Budget 2016 builds on the estimated $11 million spent on the management of wilding conifers each year.