18 Dec 2017

Government plans review of kauri dieback programme

3:34 pm on 18 December 2017

The Government is planning to review the kauri dieback programme, amid concerns that not enough is being done to save the trees.

Kauri in the Waitakere Ranges

Kauri in the Waitakere Ranges Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

The disease - found mainly in the Waitakere ranges - is spread through soil that attacks kauri roots.

Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor said the review will come up with a comprehensive response to the disease, but he says it's up to the public to contain it.

If people did not adhere to the hygiene standards by cleaning their shoes, the forest would be destroyed, he said.

Details of the review had not been finalised, he said.

Auckland Council this month voted against closing the Waitākere Ranges as a measure to stop the spread of the disease.

Councillors voted in favour of keeping the ranges open but endorsed closing some at risk-tracks, as was recommended by council officials.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said he was sympathetic to calls for the ranges to be closed, but it would be impossible to stop people entering the park even if it was closed.

It would be better to close high-risk tracks and spend more money on track maintenance, hygiene stations and educating the public about the disease, he said.

Forest and Bird regional manager Nick Beveridge told RNZ earlier this month he was disappointed at the council's inaction.

Councils needed more support from central government to fight the disease, he said.

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