Sapere analysis demonstrates benefits of wilding pine programme

18 May 2020 – Wilding conifers are a serious pest in New Zealand. They reduce the productivity of primary industries and damage the environmental values that New Zealand is renowned for. They have the potential to cost the New Zealand economy billions of dollars if their spread is not dealt with.

In 2018, Sapere was engaged by the Ministry of Primary Industries to assess the cost benefit of phase 2 of the government’s national Wilding Conifer Control Programme.

Among Sapere’s findings is the catastrophic impact on vulnerable land of doing nothing about wilding pines. Without national intervention wilding pines will spread to 7.5 million ha of vulnerable land, and result in a loss of $4.6 billion to the country. However, intervention options could result in a net benefit of over $6 billion.

This analysis was led by Sally Wyatt, a Principal in our Wellington office. “Wilding pines are a classic case of a stitch in time saving nine,” says Sally. “We used long term modelling to show what an issue uncontrolled spread of these weed trees really represents for our economy and environment.”

Recently announced government initiatives to redeploy 160 workers affected by COVID-19 related lay-offs to wilding pine mitigation projects demonstrate the strength of the conclusions, and how taking early action on an escalating issue can result in a win-win situation for communities.

The CBA analysis demonstrates the impact of what we do now on the value of natural capital in the future.

Read a summary of our report.

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