Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy & Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said at the weekend the control of wilding pines had nearly reached the first-year target of 1 million ha.
Mr Guy said: “20% of New Zealand will be covered in unwanted wilding conifers within 20 years if their spread isn’t stopped. They already cover more than 1.8 million ha of New Zealand and until now have been spreading at about 5%/year. The national wilding conifer control programme was put in place in 2016 to prevent their spread and systematically remove them from much of the land already taken over.
“Prevention is the best form of management. Removing young seedlings before they start producing seeds costs less than $10/ha, but removing mature trees can cost over $10,000/hectare.”
Ms Barry said: “Wildings compete with native plants & animals for sunlight & water and can severely alter natural landscapes. The control programme is to protect our conservation land, iconic landscapes, tourist routes, high country farming heritage & sensitive water catchments from these invaders.
“Last year the Government committed an additional $16 million to wilding control over the next 4 years and that’s on top of $11 million already spent each year.”
Attribution: Ministerial release.