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Forest & Bird shuts bush reserves, claims lack of action from MPI in handling of kauri dieback

Conservation group Forest & Bird is shutting down all of its kauri reserves, saying the Government's inaction over kauri dieback has forced it to take matters into its own hands.

In total, seven reserves are closing, all of which are believed to be disease free, these are:

New Zealand’s biggest tree, in Northland’s Waipoua Forest, is under threat from the disease. Source: 1 NEWS

Northland:

HB Matthews Reserve

Auckland:

Ngaheretuku Reserve, Matuku Reserve, Onetangi Reserve, Te haahi - Goodwin Reserve, Kerr - Taylor Reserve

Waikato:

Morgan Reserve

Forest & Bird says it’s had no on the ground direction on how to prevent the spread of the disease from the Ministry of Primary Industries, who are the leaders of the national programme.

The organisation’s Waitakere branch chair, Annalily van den Broeke, says her team has had to seek out their own specialists to look after its 250 hectares of kauri land.

"We've made standard operation procedures ourselves for people who need to go into the forest for predator control and essential work", she says.

MPI told 1 NEWS it's disappointed by Forest & Bird's claims. It's manager for Recovery and Pest Management, John Sanson says the agency and its partners have been working hard on solutions.

"This has resulted in a significant number of projects and initiatives that have been put in place over the last nine years, which have been well publicised," Mr Sanson says.

"In the last three years alone, we have commissioned or co-funded more than 60 research projects to the tune of $2 million, undertaken aerial surveillance across 3 million hectares of kauri lands.

"We have implemented controlled area notices in areas such as the Waitakere and Hunua ranges in support of Auckland council who are responsible for administering this land."

But Forest & Bird's Chief Executive, Kevin Hague has described MPI's leadership as slow and dire.

"Their performance has been woeful. They don't at any stage seem to have grasped the magnitude or urgency of this problem.

"Two million dollars, for goodness sake. That's MPI's investment to one of our most iconic trees?" Mr Hague asked.

MPI told 1 NEWS, information on management is publicly available and that offers to meet with Forest & Bird have not been taken up.

MPI is working on a National Pest Management plan, that includes a stronger regulatory regime.

Meanwhile, Forest & Bird is urging other private land owners to close their kauri lands too.

They’re frustrated with what they say is a lack of Government action. Source: 1 NEWS