"We need to protect these lakes" - Minister says more funding to come
"We've taken fresh water for granted" Eugenie Sage told Crux at a $7.5 million funding announcement in Wanaka this morning.
The Minister for Land Information made it clear that there was more funding on the way and she also acknowledged the link between tourism and the Southern Lakes being able to deliver against the expectation that our lakes will be clean and unpolluted.
Watch the full Crux interview.
Here's the Minister's official announcement on Thursday morning.
Here is the full media release with details of the new funding.
"Several of New Zealand’s iconic lakes are getting a helping hand with a significant funding boost to help tackle the spread of aquatic weeds in the lakes said Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage in Wanaka.
“With hundreds of thousands of people visiting our major lakes each year, keeping invasive aquatic weed at bay is essential to ensure they can continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.”
“I’m pleased that Budget 2019 has delivered LINZ the first increase to baseline funding in ten years to support its biosecurity and biodiversity programmes,” says Eugenie Sage.
$7.5 million over four years has been set aside to support Land Information New Zealand’s work to protect lakes, rivers and lands from invasive weeds and pests.
“The funding will double LINZ’s annual spend on tackling the spread of aquatic weeds like lagarosiphon to around $2 million.”
LINZ is responsible for biosecurity at Lakes Wakatipu, Wanaka, Dunstan, Benmore and Aviemore in the South Island, and several Te Arawa Rotorua lakes and Lake Karapiro in the North Island.
“Helping ensure lakes are healthy not only makes sense for biodiversity but for the economy too.”
The money will allow LINZ, working with Boffa Miskell and NIWA, to increase surveillance of lake weed, as well as improve the monitoring and evaluation of control activities such as hessian matting and herbicide spraying.
Visiting Lake Wanaka Minister Sage heard first-hand about the impact hessian matting has had on weed control.
“I’m pleased that this funding will mean more hessian matting can be used for weed control in lakes and waterways around the country.
“The funding will also mean increased surveillance for Lake Wakatipu, which couldn’t come at a more critical time with lagarosiphon having been removed from this iconic waterway earlier this year.
“Whilst we have seen a strong focus on our land-based pests in recent years, the threats to our aquatic native species, and in fact to people’s livelihoods, often go unseen.”
“I’m pleased that this Government has been able to provide much needed funding to support LINZ to make a real difference in these important water bodies.”
Main Image: The Minister makes her announcement this morning accompanied by:
- Don Robertson – Chair, Guardians of Lake Wanaka
- Richard Lord – Team Leader Biosecurity, Otago Regional Council
- Callum McLeod – Deputy Mayor of Queenstown Lakes District Council
- Diana Manson – Parks and Reserves Officer, QLDC
- Craig Blake – Deputy Harbourmaster, Southern Monitoring Services Ltd
- Mike Tubbs, Operations Manager, Department of Conservation