The National Plant Pest Accord (NPPA) is in danger of being stripped of many of the worst weeds that infest much of New Zealand, claims an environmental consultant. The discussion documents, out for public consultation until 20 January, contain over 30 species that have been submitted for removal from the current list, and almost sixty that are weeds but not recommended for adding to the list.
"I was really surprised to see some of the nastiest weeds listed for removal from the Accord" said Alan Liefting, a Christchurch based environmental consultant. "Tens of millions of dollars are spent on weed control by private landowners as well as government departments, and now a lot of the good work is being undermined by easing the current restrictions. There is also the hundreds of millions of dollars in lost agricultural production and the loss of biodiversity."
"As well as all the money, there is a lot of time spent by volunteers who get rid of weeds on public land."
"There is a lot of good reasons for having as many weeds as possible on the Accord list. I cannot think of any reason to start taking them off it."
"We have got a pretty sad history in New Zealand of waiting until it is too late before doing something about plant and animal pests. Look at the possum. It took a long time before the government took away the restrictions on possum trapping. And we knew the stoat was going to be a problem over 100 years ago - before it was even introduced into New Zealand."
"We should really be applying the precautionary principle to weed control by banning them from sale and distribution. We should nip it in the bud!"