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Political party stances on wilding pines

Date: 6th October 2023

A big thanks to Lauren Prebble from Marketellingenz in Cromwell who manages our social media. She canvassed all the political parties to get their position on wilding pines.

Hirakimata – Mount Hobson summit looking north – wild as and wilding free – Aotea Great Barrier Island Source: Jo Ritchie

Not very illuminating and it feels like although the environment is the basis of our wellbeing and economy, that it is not a high priority for most political parties. Other than climate change there has been very little discussion about how we address the current state of our biodiversity and biosecurity. Regardless we will wait and see who gets elected and how they walk the talk.

Here is what political parties had to say..

National Party

National understand the issues of wilding pine and it is something that we will address if we are fortunate to make Government.

Act Party

ACT has no specific policy on wilding pines. However,:

  1. The funding for DOC has increased by 50% since 2017. ACT will seek to make efficiencies within the conservation budget to fund frontline maintenance of the conservation estate;
  2. Private landowners, especially those with forest, have a responsibility to maintain their properties and manage risk to neighbouring properties. ACT is considering, as part of its broader RMA reforms, how property owners take greater responsibility for the risks they create. This could also be tied into the review of the Biosecurity Act and ensuring that those who create the risk bear the costs.  

Green Party

Wilding conifers affect more than two million hectares of Aotearoa at varying densities. They reduce water yield to streams and wetlands, create a fire risk, are a major threat to farm land, ecosystems, indigenous vegetation and iconic landscapes such as the Mackenzie Basin.  Without a nationally co-ordinated programme it has been estimated that 20% of New Zealand will be affected by wilding conifers within 20 years.

The Green Party strongly supports investment in wilding conifer control. The Greens pushed for a significant increase in Government funding last term. This resulted in $100 million over four years for wilding control in line with the Wilding Conifer Management Strategy. This was a major increase from $16 million over four years provided by the last National government. The $1.2 billion Jobs for Nature package in Budget 2020 as part of the government’s Covid Recovery programme was a Green Party initiative. It has included a number of wilding control projects such as on the Cragieburn Range.

The effectiveness of a nationally led programme to tackle wilding conifers in co-operation with landholders is proven. Funding needs to continue at a similar or increased level to that provided currently, to protect past gains and to deal with infestations such as in Marlborough’s Branch and Leatham catchments and reduce the area of vulnerable land exposed to wind-blown seed spread.

Labour party

  • In 2020, the wilding conifer effort was boosted with a four-year injection of $100 million from the Jobs for Nature programme as part of the Government’s response to the pandemic.
  • The programme has put this funding to excellent use, exceeding targets over the past three years.
  • Though the Jobs for Nature funding has come to an end, the programme now has secure funding of $10m per year through to 2030 and beyond. This is significantly higher baseline funding than was previously available and gives the programme certainty into the future.
  • We believe that the energy companies in the South should also contribute to wilding pine control—the pines compete with the dams for water, removing an estimated 20% from catchments.
  • Our focus is now on maintaining and building on the results the Labour Government’s substantial investment to date has achieved.

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