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.