Kauri dieback: Local board wants funding, not national park

  • 19/08/2017

Funding is the answer to battling kauri dieback disease, not turning the Waitakere Ranges into a national park, according to the Waitakere Ranges Local Board.

The call for funding comes after Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett reportedly suggested the ranges become a national park, enabling more resources to be made available to fight the disease.

The portion of infected trees in the area rose from 7.9 percent in 2011 to 19.0 percent infected in 2016, according to researchers.

That spread has prompted warnings the area could be shut to the public.

Waitakere Ranges Local Board Deputy Chair Saffron Toms said while they commended the Deputy Prime Minister's sentiment to protect the ranges, the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008 already designated the area as a special place.

"There is no reason that the Government could not direct more funding right now towards fighting kauri dieback," Mr Toms said.

"Indeed, we encourage the Government to allocate substantial funds quickly to this, otherwise we could lose this precious species forever."

Waitakere Ward Councillor Penny Hulse said she would like to see more research on kauri dieback and more action to curb its spread.

She said kauri dieback is a grave threat and she would welcome a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister to talk about how they can work together to fight the disease.

Scientists say non-compliance with rules by trampers is the biggest reason the disease has spread.