13 Feb 2024

Concern NZ is not on top of spread of exotic weeds

From Nine To Noon, 9:08 am on 13 February 2024

... Add lupins - and open the door to a botanical invasion Photo:

There's frustration at the rate of progress to enact a national action plan for managing invasive weed species. Back in late 2021, a major report was released warning if exotic plants were left to their own devices, they could transform ecosystems beyond recognition.

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton described it as a "silent invasion" which required a coordinated response, and better monitoring and surveillance systems. Those calls were amplified this year with a report from AgResearch warning sleeper weed Chilean needle grass could become a billion-dollar problem for agriculture if a control plan isn't set in place soon.

Angela Brandt is a senior researcher at Manaaki Whenua and was involved in the 2021 report. She now works with teams on the ground to oversee several projects in weed ecology - some of whom want to see more urgent action.