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Wilding conifers: why long-term environmental issues need long-term funding.

Date: 27th October 2023

Thank you to everyone (around 160 of you, an all-time record!) who attended our recent conference in Queenstown either in person or online. The conference included a keynote from Simon Upton the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Source: L. Prebble.

It was an excellent insightful and frank talk that covered 3 key points:

  1. There is little point in starting jobs you don’t intend to finish.

This references the varying levels of funding for the national wilding programme and uses the 2022 Cost Benefit Analysis to support the need for sustained ongoing secure funding at 100% of what is needed not the current 58% (actually 63% for 23/24 financial year with the $7mill boost to current work from DOC announced at the conference).

If the Government does not find the funding to follow through on the wilding control investments it has made over the last three years, taxpayers’ money will be wasted as wildings reinvade some of the weed-shaped holes that have been created.

2. Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility – not just the Government’s.

Responsibility for wilding control should not rest solely with taxpayers. There are industries both contributing to the problem and benefiting from containing it. The Government is entitled to ask them to contribute – but it won’t get far if its own commitment is shaky.

3. Conifers are not our only priority.

The Government needs to get wilding control funded on a long-term sustainable basis because there are scores of other plant pests just getting going on the invasion curve.

You can read the speech by clicking on the links below:

https://pce.parliament.nz/our-work/news/address-at-the-wilding-pine-network-conference-2023/.

You may also be interested in the media article that appeared in Stuff and the Timaru Herald as a result of this presentation https://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/133158620/wilding-control-responsibility-not-solely-taxpayers-responsibility-parliamentary-commissioner-for-the-environment


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