The Tree Council and Waitakere Ranges Protection Society welcome the recent announcement by the Green Party to invest $50m over the next two years to implement essential work to protect kauri.

After constant lobbying for more investment and clear policy on this issue over the last decade The Tree Council and Waitakere Ranges Protection Society are delighted that The Green Party at least is finally taking the problem facing our forests seriously.

The Tree Council’s Dr Mels Barton says “the proposal to remove management of the National Kauri Dieback Programme from the Ministry of Primary Industries and place it instead with the Department of Conservation recognises the appalling mismanagement and inaction that we, and many other groups, have highlighted to the government so many times.” 

“However the fact that DOC has not shown any positive initiative over the previous decade in managing this disease while being a member of the national programme does not fill us with confidence that they have what it takes to make a real difference now. We would prefer to see the programme led by Northland Regional Council as proposed by NRC back in August with the other Councils, DOC, MPI, iwi and the community as part of the team.” 

“We are disappointed to see that the Green Party proposal does not include funding specifically identified to develop a National Pest Management Plan, despite over two years of public consultation on this having already been done. This is an urgent tool to enable consistent implementation and funding of the initiatives required to protect kauri wherever they occur, and not just on Crown owned land.”

The Tree Council and Waitakere Ranges Protection Society call on the Labour party and the other major parties to support and enhance this policy leadership from the Greens so that voters can know that their votes will result in an investment so desperately needed for our kauri and not just another three years of inaction.

Kauri are at a tipping point for their survival. Our forests need urgent action now if we are to prevent extinction of this species and the associated ecological collapse of the northern podocarp forests they comprise. Kauri cannot afford to wait any longer.