Jamie Morton

Jamie Morton is science reporter at the NZ Herald.

Budget 2014: Efforts to combat kauri disease get $25m boost

Budget includes boost to measures to protect the threatened kauri.
Budget includes boost to measures to protect the threatened kauri.

Groups fighting a kauri-killing disease are relieved the Government has committed millions more dollars to the battle, allaying fears that research funding would dry up.

This year's Budget includes $25 million over the next four years to boost measures to protect the threatened kauri. Kauri dieback disease has infected thousands of trees since the soil-borne scourge, for which there is no known cure, was first detected in 2008.

After being found in trees in Northland, the Waitakere Ranges and Great Barrier Island, the disease was last month detected in the kauri-rich Coromandel.

The Budget provides $10.9 million for Department of Conservation operational costs, $10.7 million for capital costs for tracks, boardwalks and hygiene stations, and $4.9 million for the Ministry of Primary Industries for research and management tools.

Vivienne McLean, of Coromandel's Kauri 2000 movement and interim chairwoman of a forum responding to the region's new incursion, said it was "good news" that DoC was going to get the resources it needed.

In other environment investments, $20 million was allocated for freshwater management, including money for communities to protect waterways, and $3 million would help implement RMA reforms.

The Budget also allocated $40 million to the Crown Irrigation Fund, following an $80 million investment last year.

Environmental Defence Society chairman Gary Taylor said while more money to clean up waterways was welcome, the two amounts allocated for that and irrigation projects should "have been the other way around".

Allocations

• $25m for research, monitoring and preventive measures for kauri dieback disease.
• $20m for freshwater and environment initiatives, including $12 million for communities to help clean up waterways.
• $3m to help implement changes to the Resource Management Act.
• $40m taken from the Government's asset sales regime to fund irrigation
schemes.

- NZ Herald

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