Pest plants can be a major threat to the Bay of Plenty’s farmland, wetlands, lakes and waterways. Small fragments of unwanted vegetation can easily spread by contaminated equipment.
We all have a role to play in keeping an eye out for these and other nationally-significant pests. If you see any of these pests, or any unusual or unfamiliar pests or diseases, please let us know as soon as possible – it may be a new arrival.
As the land owner or occupier, you have primary responsibility for managing ‘containment’ and ‘restricted’ pests on your property. However Bay of Plenty Regional Council biosecurity staff provide free support and advice to help landowners manage plant and animal pests. Council is responsible for managing high-risk agency and exclusion/eradication pests.
The kiwifruit vine disease Psa is one example of a recent unexpected arrival. Ideally, all landowners should have precautions in place at their own borders (your gate). For example, do you know:
- Where your hay has come from and how ‘clean’ the source is? The hay may contain seeds of weeds that you don’t already have on your property.
- If the digger used for cleaning your drains was washed of soil and debris before it arrived at your place?
Pest plants and animals listed in the Regional Pest Management Plan (the Plan) are classified with specific rules relating to each category of pests. It is up to landowners to know and follow these rules. The rules in the Plan are designed to improve pest management. Read our User Guide to the Bay Of Plenty Regional Pest Management Plan (below).
The Plan’s pest hierarchy focuses the most intensive activities on high-risk pests and the least intensive on low-risk pests.
In a very small number of situations, exemptions to the Plan rules may be granted. A written application is required and if granted, Council must publicise the exemption.
Non-compliance and enforcement
We are responsible for enforcing the Plan’s rules and our approach is to be firm, but fair.
Initially, we will work with landowners to help you take the required action. Ultimately, if no action is taken by the landowner, we will take legal action which can include prosecution.
Not complying with rules in the Plan is an offence under the Biosecurity Act 1993 and substantial penalties are possible.
Case study: Controlling wild kiwifruit
The 10-year collaboration between the Regional Council and New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) has led to a significant reduction in wild kiwifruit in the Bay of Plenty.
With the emergence of kiwifruit vine disease Psa (Pseudomonas syringaepv. Actinidiae) in the region, control of wild kiwifruit that may host the disease is even more important.
The Regional Council identifies wild kiwifruit populations and monitors control work, while NZKGI contributes funding from its members towards this work.
Wild kiwifruit is listed as a ‘Containment Pest’ in the Regional Pest Management Plan, which means landowners responsible for the pest are also responsible for its control.
Wild kiwifruit is spread predominantly by birds, rats and possums that have eaten waste fruit and transported many tiny seeds in their droppings, often across many kilometres. If left uncontrolled, wild kiwifruit forms a mound of tangled stems that can grow up and over trees, smothering and killing them. Without active control, areas of native bush would eventually disappear under a blanket of kiwifruit.
The great news is that some 25,000 wild kiwifruit vines have been destroyed in the Bay of Plenty. Large wild vines have been almost entirely eliminated and the number of smaller vines is declining every year.
The Regional Council also supports the Waste to Gold initiative led by Scion Research, Zespri International Ltd and NZKGI, which converts waste kiwifruit into bio-plastic, helping reduce the 50,000 tonnes of waste kiwifruit otherwise left in the environment.