Pesky pine trees get $1m an­nounce­ment


Erad­i­cat­ing out-of-con­trol trees in Queen­stown and Cen­tral Otago has been given a boost with the Govern­ment an­nounc­ing $1.17 mil­lion in fund­ing to­wards stop­ping the spread.

Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Mag­gie Barry made the an­nounce­ment on Mon­day as part of a $5m fund­ing pack­age for wild­ing conifer con­trol in Otago over the next year. It was part of the Govern­ment’s $16m com­mit­ment over the next four years.

Wakatipu Wild­ing Conifer Con­trol Group Inc co-chair Grant Hens­man said con­trol­ling the trees cost the group about $1.3m to $1.4m a year.

‘‘In our view this tree men­ace or threat is a big­ger threat to our na­tive ecol­ogy and wildlife popu- la­tions than any other threat. [The fund­ing’s] a tremen­dous boost to the cause.’’

The ad­di­tional money would al­low ex­panded con­trol across 680,000 hectares of land in the Kawa­rau Gorge, the North­ern Eyre Moun­tains, The Re­mark­ables, Dun­stan and Kakanui-St Mary Ida.

Cen­tral Otago Wild­ing Conifer Con­trol Group ex­ec­u­tive Gra­hame Sydney said they were ‘‘ex­tremely de­lighted’’ the Govern­ment had recog­nised the prob­lem.

‘‘Cen­tral Otago de­pends on its dis­tinc­tion, its sep­a­rate­ness. They [wild­ing conifers] oblit­er­ate that dis­tinc­tion.

‘‘For ev­ery sin­gle wild­ing tree you see now, there will be 100 in 10 years time.’’

Sydney ap­pealed for com­plete buy-in from pri­vate landown­ers too.

Wild­ing conifer trees.

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