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Pest management strategy approved for region

Thursday, 28 July 2011 9:00 a.m.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council approved a new Pest Management Plan for the region for the next five years at its meeting this week.

The Regional Council has developed the Regional Pest Management Plan to direct management of pests in the Bay of Plenty. It provides an agreed context for pest management actions, guides decision-makers in prioritising and allocating resources, ensures a consistent response to pest risks, allows rules to be made and provides transparency around roles and responsibilities.

Regional Pest Management Strategy Board of Inquiry Chair Councillor Raewyn Bennett said the Plan set out what the Council was trying to achieve in managing pest plants and animals in the Bay of Plenty. Pests are actively managed to reduce significant impacts on the environment, economy and people, both in regions and throughout the country.

"It identifies a set of key outcomes that we wish to see achieved, and some high level objectives and rules that need to be followed to help realise these outcomes. It sets out the primary pest management roles and responsibilities for the Regional Council, and landowners and occupiers across the region. It provides a reference point for continuing work to protect the natural assets in our region from the damage pest plants and pest animals can create," she said.

"Pest management and pest management strategies are a critical component of our biosecurity system, and contribute to achieving the overall vision for biosecurity in New Zealand."

The aim of the Plan was to protect natural land and water assets that contributed towards the quality of life, cultural identity, economy and natural ecosystems people enjoyed in the Bay of Plenty.

"For some it will mean clean water free from weeds, for others it will mean protecting biodiversity and maintaining recreational and cultural values."

The biggest change in the new Plan is a new classification system which defines different levels of management for different pests, according to how severe the threat is. Each classification has different pest management objectives, outlining how they should be achieved and who is responsible for achieving them. The new classifications are:

Agency Pests - pests of national significance. These are considered top priority, so the Crown takes primary responsibility for controlling them. The Regional Council supports Crown-led initiatives, and land occupiers and agencies have rules to adhere to. These include didymo, Johnson grass, rainbow lorikeets and feral sika deer.

Exclusion and Eradication Pests - pests which need to be eradicated or prevented from entering the region. The Regional Council takes a lead role in controlling these pests, as well as enforcing rules and monitoring work. There are also rules for land occupiers and agencies. These include alligator weed, spartina, koi carp and rooks.

Containment Pests - pests which need to be minimised and prevented from spreading further. Land occupiers are responsible for controlling these pests, and the Regional Council enforces rules, and supports and helps coordinate voluntary programmes. These include wild kiwifruit and lodgepole pine, feral goats and wallabies.

Restricted Pests - pests the Regional Council will support the community to control in places where they are a problem. Land occupiers and communities manage these pests voluntarily, and the Regional Council's main role is to prevent their spread and provide advice to communities on control. These include agapanthus, coastal banksia, magpies and possums.

The Board of Inquiry recommended more analysis needed to be done urgently on the issue of gorse as part of wider land use change to improve Rotorua's lake water quality. The draft Plan had included a proposed rule (since removed) requiring all landowners to destroy gorse on their properties in the Ōkāreka and Rotorua catchments, but submitters were concerned that a rule would not be fair, equitable, enforceable or practical.

Pests lowres