Joint feedback to people involved in APK consultation from the Independent Panel and Independent Project Lead (25/6/2019)
The ‘Accelerating Protection for Kauri’ project delivered a National Pest Management Plan (NPMP) proposal to the Minister in April 2019. This included a proposed new management agency to lead the programme, underpinned by a new strategy for protecting kauri. These were developed with substantive input from mana whenua, communities and many organisations with an interest in kauri – including around 1000 people across 60 hui and meetings, and 227 submissions received.
Our sincere thanks to all who engaged in the three consultation rounds for sharing your passionate views, deep insight and passion for kauri.
In May 2019 the Minister for Biosecurity approved the new NPMP (including arrangements for a management agency) subject to funding. Final Ministerial approval requires there is long term funding to implement the plan, and right now that is not in place.
The Budget 2019 recently announced by government contained no funding to implement the National Pest Management Plan for kauri dieback. That means there is no new operational funding to better protect kauri, which is needed to implement the national plan and establish the new management agency. The only confirmed operational funding at this stage is that previously allocated by regional councils or for DOC operations, which falls well short of what is required. New funding announced in Budget 2019 ($20m over four years) was for strategic research only to combat kauri dieback.
Protection for kauri is no longer “accelerating”. Unless new funding is confirmed the kauri dieback program is likely to remain in a holding pattern at best.
The ‘Accelerating Protection for Kauri’ project – with input from a wide range of New Zealanders and groups that care deeply for kauri – delivered the Government a strong solution. As the NPMP proposal acknowledges ‘….at the heart of this is the Treaty of
Waitangi partnership between the Crown and Maori. This partnership will be incorporated in new management agency arrangements, including decision-making and resource allocation and will work at all levels of the programme’. The new plan supports ‘a locally implemented approach to kauri dieback management that enables local communities, hapu/iwi and others to take action’, building on the current gains being made in scientific and matauranga kauri dieback research.
Stronger action to protect iconic kauri is needed - that is the strong message we heard from New Zealanders and from the Government. As the NPMP proposal acknowledges ‘…kauri is more than a tree to New Zealanders. It is an icon – a symbol of the country. It has aesthetic appeal and spiritual connection to many, and particular spiritual significance to Maori, especially those who whakapapa to the kauri lands.’
The need to now confirm funding is urgent. It is needed to translate proposals, intent and goodwill built into action that accelerates protection for kauri.
Andrew Harrison (Independent Project Lead)
Barry O’Neil (Independent Panel Chair)
Kevin Prime (Independent Panel Member)
Marie McEntee (Independent Panel Member)
Lindsay Bulman (Independent Panel Member)