Forest & Bird welcomes news that the Biosecurity and Conservation Ministers are taking a stronger approach to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI ) management of the kauri dieback programme and looks forward to engaging with MPI in the development of a National Pest Management Plan.
This follows an announcement today by Hon. Damien O’Connor, Minister for Biosecurity and Hon. Eugenie Sage, Minister of Conservation that the government would act immediately to strengthen efforts to protect kauri trees from dieback disease by developing a National Pest Management Plan (NPMP), the strongest piece of regulation available.
Forest & Bird Central North Island Regional Manager Dr Rebecca Stirnemann, says that this intervention is long overdue.
“So far, there has been a huge failure of leadership within MPI, and we are now facing the possibility of losing this important species forever. We hope the ministers take a hard look at MPI’s kauri response to date and make the changes needed so that MPI’s biosecurity arm can actually do its job of protecting our native plants and animals."
Forest & Bird yesterday revealed that MPI has been reprimanded for unlawfully withholding official information from them, taking four months to provide meeting minutes and reports on the Kauri Dieback National programme.
“MPI should have proposed a National Pest Management Plan years ago when they first realised the problem was so grave. We have started reviewing hundreds of pages of records and minutes received under the OIA from MPI and what we see is a lack of focus on the options available to MPI under the Biosecurity Act and that MPI lacked a plan or strategy to protect one of our most iconic trees. In short, too much emphasis on meetings and not enough action.”
"For the last year Forest & Bird has been warning that agencies not doing their job are second only to pests as a threat to nature. With kauri dieback we have both a pest and a failing agency."
“Urgent action such as a Controlled Area Notice around the Waitakeres is vital now, as the summer holidays could see thousands of visitors to kauri forests and even greater potential to spread the disease."