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Published: 2004-11-19 00:00:00

New Zealand’s Weedbusters programme has issued a first birthday wish for more volunteers and community groups to rally to the Weedbusters programme.

Weedbuster’s National Coordinator Amber Bill said the first year of the Weedbusters programme had shown how keen New Zealanders were to protect the environment from weeds. “

In its first year Weedbusters has blossomed, with a range of special events and Weedbusting days throughout the country. Volunteers have been controlling weeds from the bottom of the South to the top of the North, and school students are learning about protecting the environment from the spread of weeds.”

“In our second year we aim to encourage even more New Zealanders to join the groundswell of community support for efforts to control and eradicate weeds.”

Weedbusters has been raising awareness about invasive weeds among Hamilton residents at events such as the National Boat Show, the Agricultural Fieldays and the Waikato Home and Garden Show. Environment Waikato Weedbusters Coordinator Wendy Mead urged more Hamilton people to get involved in protecting the environment from invasive weeds.

“Weedbusters groups are already up and running in some Hamilton gullies and parks, thanks to the efforts of the Hamilton City Council and other environmental groups. We’d like more residents to get involved in weed work in their local areas.”

New Zealand’s weed problems cost the country more than $100 million a year in lost production and preventative measures.

More than 200 plants, originally introduced as ornamental garden species, had become serious pests in the environment, and there were others that had the potential to spread and damage the environment, she said.

The Weedbusters public awareness and education initiative was launched by the Minister for Conservation Chris Carter last October to strengthen the national focus on weeds.

It is being led by the Department of Conservation in collaboration with regional councils, and with input from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, New Zealand Biosecurity Institute, Nursery and Garden Industry Association and Federated Farmers New Zealand. It also has a website, www.weedbusters.org.nz.