The National Government should immediately promise the funding needed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) to save Northland forests from being destroyed by possums, the Green Party said today.
The Northland Regional Council has reportedly offered to help DOC ask central government for more money to stop possums destroying Northland’s forests and says without it the affected forests are at risk of destruction.
“DOC has presumably declined the Council’s offer in order to avoid embarrassing its Minister,” said Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“DOC only needs another $10-20 million over 20 years to revive Northland’s forests, and save them from being obliterated by possums. That’s only $500,000 to $1 million a year to save a precious and unique part of New Zealand.
“Good community consultation before any aerial control work can help address any community concerns about the use of 1080. Sustained pest control has major benefits for forest health and our indigenous plants and wildlife.
“Northland’s forests are important for biodiversity, tourism and employment. As DOC’s core responsibility and role is to protect our native species and landscapes, it shouldn’t be put in a position of having to beg for the money to do that,” said Ms Sage.