Forestry workers deal with a wilding pine

Lifeline for local forestry workers

by Paul Campbell

Forestry workers impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic have some work on the horizon with $1 million in government funding announced to clear wilding pines in Northland, and targeting areas near Dargaville as the first stage.

Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor announced a total of $3 million for wilding pine projects in Northland, one in the Kaitaia area and the other near Dargaville, and $2 million for three projects in Canterbury.

Northland Regional Council chair Penny Smart is also the council’s Kaipara constituency representative and says once the project reaches its full potential in the area, it will have covered the cost of about 1,000 days’ full-time work for a core team of more than a dozen people.

“The first stage will see the removal of wilding pines and other problem trees from land near Dargaville and should be officially underway within a matter of weeks. The team also has other wilding pine projects planned for in the area in the event wet weather prevents access to the river margins.”

The initial work will help reduce flood risks and mitigate streambank erosion, and the project will then scale up to other areas in the wider Dargaville area, including controlling wilding pines along the margins of rare dune lakes, valuable wetlands and roadsides.

“The mix of skills needed will all be local people, putting much-needed money back into our local economy.”