A new Scion-led MBIE programme, Protecting New Zealand’s primary sector from plant pests: a toolkit for the urban battlefield, has recently been funded. The programme directly supports export growth targets of New Zealand’s primary production sectors and export growth aspirations of government by addressing three key requirements needed for effective pest eradication (1) early detection through improved surveillance, (2) new eradication methods that can replace broadcast aerial spraying; and, (3) risk communication and engagement strategies. The programme, supported by a Programme Steering Committee consisting of government, regional councils, primary producers, and a Maori representative, is estimated to deliver $2.5B (net) benefit from improvements in eradication efficiency, plus numerous other (non-quantified) benefits from implementing new pest management tools in productive sectors, protection of the natural estate, and stronger community engagement.
The diverse research team consists of scientists from NZ (Scion, Landcare Research, Will Allen and Associates, Lincoln University, University of Canterbury, Eco Research Associates Ltd), USA (Forest Service), UK (Forestry Commission), and France (Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique). It is supported by cash and in-kind co-funding from a wide range of stakeholders, along with Scion’s Core Purpose funding through the B3 collaboration.
(This programme works in alignment with the Biological Heritage Challenge)
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