The Tree Council, Waitakere Ranges Protection Society and Friends of Regional Parks welcome the announcement by Minister Megan Woods that the research programme for kauri dieback will now be managed by the Strategic Science Investment Fund via the Ministry for Business, Innovation & Employment and that the budget has been significantly increased.
This is an extremely important decision at a critical time when operational tools to manage the disease are needed urgently. After 9 years with few advances, new management is urgently required in order for the essential science research to deliver meaningful results.
The science programme must be managed in a strategic and coherent way prioritising the most important research first to deliver the tools needed to move forward our knowledge of how to manage this disease. This can only be achieved through collaboration and leadership by experienced science programme managers. A proven record of collaboration with science providers, and transparency in dealing with co-funders and end-users will give confidence and trust that the objectives of the research programme can and will be delivered promptly.
It is vital that the operational research needed to deliver these management tools remains with the Strategic Science Investment Fund and is not split off and retained by MPI.
The Tree Council, Waitakere Ranges Protection Society and Friends of Regional Parks thanks Minister Woods and the Government for listening to the concerns of the science community and the public and acting with urgency to make this important change. The future of our kauri and our forests is at stake.