Northland ratepayers are funding greater efforts toward fighting kauri dieback after policy changes made by Northland Regional Council.
Bruce Howse, Environmental Services group manager, said the council has tripled its previous annual kauri dieback funding to almost $300,000, effective since July 1.
The boost means Northland Regional Council (NRC) can increase staff numbers to respond to and help manage the disease on private land.
The recently-adopted Long Term Plan 2018-2028 (LTP) and its Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) contain a range of measures and funding to tackle the kauri-killing disease.
After the RPMP was challenged by Forest and Bird in the Environment Court, the NRC made changes to it — and became one of the first local authorities in New Zealand with rules specifically about kauri dieback.
The new RPMP now includes a requirement for any suspected dieback to be reported to an appropriate management agency.
Last summer a region-wide aerial survey, covering 1.2 million hectares, identified about 100 high-priority, potentially infected sites on private and district council land.
Those sites are being urgently followed up on the ground, Howse said.
The survey also identified about 200 lower priority sites that may need further investigation.
The NRC does not own any publicly accessible land where kauri grow.
The council has been working closely with Department of Conservation and other partners, including Waipoua iwi Te Roroa, to learn more about and to try to control kauri dieback.
"[The] council also has processes in place to work with Northland landowners and communities who wish to be upskilled in disease identification and sharing with them how to reduce the risk of disease spread,'' Howse said.
To date, the council had worked with landowners to help design about 30 tailor-made management plans.