20 Dec 2017

Govt ups efforts to battle kauri dieback

2:54 pm on 20 December 2017

The government is ramping up efforts to combat the spread of kauri dieback disease.

Dead kauri trees, infected with kauri dieback, at Trouson Kauri Park

Dead kauri trees infected with kauri dieback in Trounson Kauri Park in Northland. (file photo) Photo: Supplied

It has asked the Kauri Dieback Programme to create a national pest management plan, similar to those used to combat kiwifruit disease, bovine tuberculosis and threats to bees.

The disease - found mainly in the Waitakere ranges - is spread through soil that attacks kauri roots.

Mana whenua have placed a rāhui over the ranges in a bid to prevent further kauri dieback.

A council report in August found 19 percent of kauri in the regional park have the disease.

Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor said a pest management plan was the strongest piece of regulation available.

It would ensure mandatory hygiene practices, stronger governance and access to funding.

Other legislative measures could include closing off some areas to visitors and making sure shoes were washed before entering and leaving the bush.

Stay away from kauri if possible - environmental group

Environmental group the Tree Council is calling for people to do their bit to protect kauri over the summer holiday.

Spokesperson Mels Barton said people should stay away from kauri if they could, especially in Auckland, Northland and Coromandel.

Kauri dieback has not been detected in the Hunua Ranges, but the influx of Christmas and New Year holiday-makers would increase the risk, she said.

Anyone planning on visiting kauri forests anywhere in the North Island should follow hygiene protocols and clean their gear, she said.

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