Council and kiwifruit industry collaborate to control pest plant

A new agreement has confirmed a decade of action against the pest plant wild kiwifruit as part of the efforts to control its spread in the Bay of Plenty.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) will continue to work together to jointly manage the pest plant, which can rapidly form a dense, heavy blanket of growth, smothering and eventually killing or toppling trees and shrubs beneath. It’s a significant threat to native bush and forestry.

The kiwifruit industry, represented by KVH, has partnered with the Regional Council in helping manage wild kiwifruit since 1998 and this agreement will ensure the work continues over the next 10 years. Kiwifruit Vine Health and New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated had asked that wild kiwifruit be declared a ‘progressive control pest’ in the Council’s new Regional Pest Management Plan. The Plan is expected to be adopted later this year.

Regional Council Integrated Catchments Manager Chris Ingle highlighted that the new agreement, which was endorsed at the Regional Council’s meeting yesterday, reflects the importance of continued collaboration between the Council, industry and landowners.

“The agreement will see increased effort to control wild kiwifruit, building on the collective work we’ve been doing with industry since 1998,” Mr Ingle said.

Under the new agreement, Kiwifruit Vine Health will manage the administration involved in the running of the programme while also contributing $150,000 annually towards control costs and surveillance costs. Regional Council will contribute $100,000 per annum and support Kiwifruit Vine Health in gathering landowner contributions.

Wild kiwifruit has been recognized as a pest in the Bay of Plenty since the late 1990s and infestations are generally found in the vicinity of kiwifruit orchards or where reject kiwifruit has been fed-out to livestock in the past.

Kiwifruit Vine Health Operations and Compliance Manager John Mather says wild kiwifruit is a real biosecurity risk to New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry.

“Wild vines can harbour Psa and other kiwifruit pests and diseases. They can also smother areas of New Zealand’s native bush and forest,” he said.

Mr Mather, who spoke at yesterday’s Regional Council meeting said he was delighted that this successful collaboration between industry and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council was set to continue.

For more information: scoop.co.nz


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