Surge funding for kauri dieback and myrtle rust research

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods today announced a funding increase of $13.75 million over three years for research to combat the spread of kauri dieback and myrtle rust.

Megan Woods says there is a critical need for a surge investment in research that will generate long-term solutions to the spread of kauri dieback and myrtle rust.

“The $13.75 million investment announced today will mean that scientists can begin critically important research into kauri dieback and myrtle rust. It is vital that we get this work underway now to ensure that we combat these two pathogens and protect these taonga species.

“As a country we take pride in our unique species of fauna and flora, and both of these diseases are endangering some of our most iconic and culturally significant trees. We recognise the importance of taking action to protect our biodiversity and ensure future generations can enjoy Aotearoa’s unique natural environment.

“We know that addressing these challenges will require more than just three years of funding, however this surge investment allows more time to seek additional funding sources in the near future.

“Research funding for myrtle rust will total $5 million over three years, with research for kauri dieback receiving $8.75 million. This is on top of previous research funding of $6.9 million for myrtle rust and $4.7 million for kauri dieback allocated in 2018/19.

“Our best researchers will continue to work with their international colleagues, with mana whenua, industry, and communities to develop new ways of reducing damage to vulnerable plants and landscapes, and future-proof them against these and other plant diseases.

“This announcement delivers on our coalition agreement with New Zealand First to increase support for countering myrtle rust and kauri dieback,” says Megan Woods.

The Biological Heritage National Science Challenge will receive the funding to undertake the research.