$300m to get rid of pests
Auckland Council is proposing spending $307 million over the next 10 years to rein in the region’s pests – more than threefold its current $88m budget.
The battle to curb kauri dieback and Dutch elm disease was at the heart of the funding increase, getting 10 times more than the $5m currently allotted to it. Meanwhile, $40m would go towards culling possums.
The council’s environment and community committee would vote to approve the plan for public consultation on Tuesday.
Its biggest spend would be $154m on parkland pest management.
Keeping the status quo would lead to ‘‘wide-spread canopy collapse’’ in Auckland forests, the committee’s agenda said.
The Waitakere and Hunua Ranges, Auckland’s biggest forest tracts on the mainland, would be prioritised, with the council, transport corridor operators, and private landowners coordinating efforts to protect the parks’ ecosystems.
The kauri dieback programme would work towards stopping the disease reaching the Hunua Ranges and Hauraki Gulf Islands, and slowing its spread elsewhere.
Great Barrier Island, Waiheke Island, and Kawau Island, all within Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, would get a more than $40m boost to manage their respective pest spreads.
Possum control would get a five-fold boost in funding if the plan goes ahead.