14 Apr 2009

Call for extra High Country funding supported

12:45 pm on 14 April 2009

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has received support for a call for increased Government funding to eradicate wilding conifers and other weeds in the South Island High Country.

A report issued last week by the commissioner on environmental stewardship of the High Country, said weeds such as broom and gorse may pose the biggest long-term threat.

But it saw controlling wilding conifers spreading over private and public land as the most pressing need.

This is because of their ability to rapidly colonise high country grasslands, preventing grazing and radically changing the ecology and character of the landscape.

It says Government funding for control programems has been sporadic and there's a need for additional funding for a sustained woody weed eradication programme.

High Country Accord chairman Jonathan Wallis agrees, as does forestry scientist Nick Legard who's been running a wilding conifer management programme in the South Island.

The three year programme is due to end in June and further funding is being sought from MAF to continue the work.