Fund­ing boost needed: chair­man

Otago Daily Times - - REGIONS - GUY WIL­LIAMS

THE na­tional war on wild­ing trees will not be won with­out a ma­jor boost in fund­ing, Wakatipu Wild­ing Conifer Con­trol Group chair­man Grant Hens­man says.

Mr Hens­man told more than 60 peo­ple at the group’s an­nual meet­ing in Queen­stown on Wed­nes­day fund­ing would have to come from the ‘‘pub­lic purse’’ to be sus­tain­able.

In the Wakatipu, the good work be­ing done by the group and oth­ers — such as the Wakatipu Re­for­esta­tion Trust and the Route­burn Dart

Wildlife Trust — would be un­done if wild­ing trees were left to spread unchecked, Mr Hens­man said.

‘‘Un­less we make noise and get the na­tional fund­ing re­quired, all I have out­lined above will come to pass sooner than we imag­ine.’’

New Zealand had a habit of pro­cras­ti­nat­ing about pest is­sues un­til the ‘‘horse has bolted’’.

‘‘All of us have a role to play by in­flu­enc­ing our neigh­bours and friends to recog­nise the ur­gency of the is­sue, and be will­ing to pay to fix it at a na­tional level.’’

The group is bud­get­ing to spend $1.9 mil­lion on wild­ing con­trol in the 2018­19 year.

Its an­nual re­port for last year shows its op­er­at­ing in­come was just un­der $2 mil­lion.

It had to­tal grants of about $1.75 mil­lion, in­clud­ing $945,000 from the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries and $500,000 from the Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil.

Landown­ers made con­tri­bu­tions of about $200,000.

Grant Hens­man

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