Council applies to import Australian wasp to stop invasive shrub

August 24, 2022

Horizons Regional Council in the Manawatū-Whanganui region has applied on behalf of the National Biocontrol Collective for approval to import and release the bud-galling wasp to help stop the spread of the Sydney golden wattle.

The Environmental Protection Authority is calling for submissions on the application.

Also an Australian native, the wattle was introduced in New Zealand in the 19th century and became naturalised in 1897. It has become widespread on the North Island coastline and is considered a threat to biodiversity and the conservation of dune ecosystems.

The proposed wasp lays its eggs in flower buds, preventing flowers from forming and producing seeds. The wasps do not bite or sting.

In its proposal, Horizons Regional Council noted the wasp had been introduced in South Africa and Portugal, "achieving a high degree of control of Sydney golden wattle within a few years of establishment".

Public consultation on the proposal is now open. Submissions close midnight on September 30.