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Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said it was positive that another Central Otago area affected by wilding pines would be targeted as the Government reinforced its commitment to control the woody weed.

“It’s excellent that another five priority areas, including Lammermoor in Central Otago, will be added to the Government’s control programme,” Mrs Dean says.

“Funding for the Lammermoor area will address the spread of wilding pines, which are at a relatively early stage, across an extensive area of land that is highly vulnerable to invasion.

“This area contains significant conservation values and highly sensitive water catchments as well as large areas of vulnerable farmland, so the control work is all the more significant.

“Other areas around the region, where successful control work has already been undertaken in the past year include Dunstan (Central Otago) and Kawarau, Northern Eyre and Remarkables (Queenstown Lakes).

“The Central Otago Wilding Conifer Control Group is doing some fantastic work in achieving good results, working cooperatively alongside the Department of Conservation, Land Information New Zealand, the Otago Regional and Central Otago District councils, as well as farmers and community volunteers.

“I believe adopting a collaborative multi-agency approach across the Central Otago region is likely to be the most effective means of tackling the problem.

“In Central Otago alone in the past year about 120,000ha has been cleared at a cost of about $800,000.”

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