Scientists confirm Whaleoil position

When Myrtle Rust was first discovered in New Zealand, I proposed that it had arrived on the wind from Australia.  You might rightly think I’m a know-it-all, but lookie at this.

Scientists have found proof to back up the theory the myrtle rust fungus could have blown over from Australia.

Myrtle rust has now been found at 29 sites in Northland, Taranaki and Waikato.

Ministry for Primary Industries spokesperson David Yard told Morning Report scientists at NIWA have identified up to six weather events that could have brought the fungal spores over from Australia.

And here is my next proposal:  It will not be able to be contained.  

Mr Yard said that theory is also supported by a recent finding of significant myrtle rust symptoms in the upper branches of mature trees.

“It’s important to realise that if it is, as we postulate, spores being carried over from Australia, then they won’t just be in two localised areas.

“As the numbers of cases develop, we will have to review what we do, because it may not be feasible just to go in and pull out plants.”

Mr Yard says they are proposing to move to a long-term management solution.

Department of Conservation staff are collecting seeds because of the serious threat of extinction posed by the fungus, he said.

There won’t be extinction.  Natural resistance generally manifests in part of the population.  On top of that, the rust may not thrive in the complete geographic area that the host species occupy.

All that said, it’s just nature doing its thing.  Trying to contain it or stop it is about as practical as stopping it arriving from Australia on the next favourable weather event.

But that doesn’t fill troughs with taxpayer money, so it will need lots of research, monitoring, management and whatever else keeps people in a job.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.