Wild kiwifruit vines and pest threats discussed at Council hearings
Last week KVH staff presented to two Council committee meetings considering recent submissions we made jointly with NZKGI.
The first presentation was to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC) hearings committee considering submissions to their proposed Long Term Plan. The Plan allocates Council’s funding to specific workstreams and projects over the next 10 years.
In the presentation we asked the committee to consider requests for BOPRC to:
· Adopt an option within the Plan of increasing Council funding for biosecurity, specifically for wild kiwifruit control.
· Continue the partnership of Council, KVH (representing the kiwifruit industry) and landowners to manage and reduce the density of wild kiwifruit in the Bay of Plenty.
· Co-fund agreed research projects around wild kiwifruit, such as establishing monitoring plots and determining the seed viability period in different habitats.
· Continue to support the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the kiwifruit industry in any potential future response for an incursion of a pest such as Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) or Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB).
· Increase funding for woolly nightshade control. In Australia, the fruit of woolly nightshade has been recorded as a host of fruit fly larvae.
· Continue to support the Biosecurity 2025 initiative.
The second presentation was to Marlborough District Council’s (MDC) proposed Regional Pest Management Plan hearing. This Plan determines which organisms will be named as pests and the management approach for them.
In the presentation we asked the committee to consider:
· That wild kiwifruit be named an Exclusion Pest in the Plan. Wild vines should be promptly destroyed at every detected site with work undertaken by professional contractors, rather than relying on landowners to achieve control.
· The definition of wild kiwifruit be: “Any unmanaged plant material, self-propagated or abandoned plant of the Actinidia genus on private or public land”. This definition is used by KVH and would be consistent with that requested of other regional councils.
· That MDC include wild kiwifruit in the group of pest plants for which regional surveillance is undertaken.
· That MDC and KVH work collaboratively on a public awareness initiative requesting the public to report any wild kiwifruit infestations within the Marlborough district.
· KVH, representing the kiwifruit industry, will consider any request from MDC to contribute toward the cost of destroying any detected wild kiwifruit infestation.
· That MDC continue to support the Biosecurity 2025 initiative.
KVH thanks MDC for assisting with awareness of BMSB and we request that this continue, including assisting MPI with any national response for threat organisms such as the BMSB and QFF.
Both Council’s will consider these requests over the coming weeks.
The presentation to the MDC resulted in a media article about wild kiwifruit being published in the Marlborough Express and on Stuff.co.nz last Sunday. KVH was disappointed in the sensationalist nature of the article and factual inaccuracies that were printed. We wrote to the Editor of the Marlborough Express on Monday to clarify the points made by KVH during our presentation. We have published a copy of the letter in our online Newsroom.