If re-elected, the Green Party will focus $50 million of the existing Jobs for Nature package to keep Aotearoa’s iconic kauri forests standing.
“Kauri are an incredibly important taonga for Aotearoa and the Greens want to go further and faster to keep them healthy and standing,” said Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson.
“Kauri are one of the most ancient trees in the world and tower 50 metres above us. They are an important part of Aotearoa’s natural heritage, but without a political commitment to help protect them, they are facing potentially fatal threats from kauri dieback.
“Kauri dieback means the need to protect and care for kauri is becoming more urgent by the day. That’s why today, the Green Party is announcing we will focus part of the Jobs for Nature package towards kauri protection by dedicating $50 million over the next two years.
“The Greens will also push to see additional long term funding allocated in future budgets, depending on how much additional investment is needed.
“This term, the Greens have prioritised pushing for adequate funding for kauri dieback in every budget, but other political parties haven’t agreed to prioritise protecting kauri with the necessary funding. That’s why we’re seeking to make it a priority in our Jobs for Nature investments next term.
“The funding would employ people within the Department of Conservation to work in partnership with iwi and alongside regional councils to upgrade tracks to protect kauri roots, and control pests such as pigs which help spread kauri dieback,” said Green Party Conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“It would increase investment in matauranga Māori science and help improve surveillance, public education, monitoring and enforcement action.
“Kauri urgently need increased support and resources. Government agencies, iwi, and regional councils have done what they can over the last few years with limited funding. So much more is needed to protect our magnificent kauri forests in Northland, Auckland, Coromandel and the Waikato,” said Marama Davidson.
The Green Party is also proposing to shift the lead central government agency from the Ministry for Primary Industries to the Department of Conservation.
“MPI has been unable to secure enough funding for a National Pest Management Plan for kauri. DOC would ensure that protection and work on kauri dieback gets the commitment and priority attention it deserves; instead of it being just one of the many biosecurity issues MPI is responsible for. This move is likely to require changes to the Biosecurity Act.
“The Government has managed to find $100 million over four years to prevent the spread of wilding pines so we definitely need at least $50 million over two years to look after our most iconic indigenous trees.
“Cleaning stations and upgrading tracks to prevent the spread of the waterborne Phytophera responsible for kauri dieback and closing some areas have been important ways to avoid its spread. We also need more funding for education so people understand why they need to stay out of the forests to enable them to heal, and to control pigs which spread kauri dieback.
“Looking after kauri creates jobs for nature. Building new boardwalks and hunting pigs are great ways to employ locals in Northland, Auckland and the Coromandel. It’s a win for jobs and nature.”
The extra $50 million will come from re-prioritising and dedicating $50 million in the existing Jobs for Nature programme to kauri protection. The Greens will also seek more secure long term funding for kauri dieback and kauri protection through future Budgets.
The $50 million will be in addition to the existing $33 million being spent on science and research and existing funding allocated to work on the ground for kauri protection. This includes $5.4 million in 2020/21 allocated to DOC for kauri dieback and track upgrade work on public conservation land; $3.2 million allocated to MPI for kauri dieback; and $2 million recently allocated by the Provincial Growth Fund to Northland Regional Council.