Good neighbour improved approach to pest management


The Crown will have to meet ‘good neighbour’ obligations in regional pest management strategies under a proposed pest management plan which has been released for public comment.

Biosecurity Minister David Carter said:

“This means all land owners in New Zealand will be bound to control pests, such as rabbits and wilding trees, so that they don’t ‘spill over’ and affect their neighbours,” says Mr Carter.

Weeds and pests don’t observe boundaries so property owners who do their bit and more are fighting a losing battle if their neighbours don’t do their bit too.

“Today’s announcement delivers on National’s promise to ensure that the Crown meets its obligations as a responsible landowner and to develop a unified approach to pest management for all land.”

The relationship between the Crown and farmers has always been a bit uneasy and it got worse in recent years when pastoral lease land was surrendered under tenure review. Weed and pest control budgets on public land weren’t sufficient to cope which put farming operations of neighbours at risk.

“The cost of established pests to our economy runs close to $1.9 billion a year – $1.15 billion of lost production and $719 million in directly preventing pests from arriving in New Zealand and managing them once they are here.

“The proposed Plan of Action looks at ways to ensure our pest management strategies limit this cost, and meet the needs of today and challenges of tomorrow,” says Mr Carter.

“This will help drive a new national policy direction which will further strengthen and align pest management plans as they are developed.”

Lower costs and more effective control will be a popular combination if they work.

The proposed plan is open for submissions.

Increase for Doc weed & pest control


The Government’s decision to boost spending on weed and pest control on public land is welcome, if overdue.

The extra $5.3m promised sounds good but it’s over four years and I don’t know if that’s enough. Neighbours of Doc land (and we are) have long compalined about the poor level of weed and pest control and the complaints have got louder as tenure review has increased the amount of land under Doc control.

Figures released last year show Doc manages 6.5 million ha, or 42%, of the South Island land mass, and two million ha of the North Island, or 17%.

Overall, 31% of New Zealand is managed by Doc, an estate that was growing. Linz figures released last week reveal Doc had gained an extra 178,000ha of the South Island high country to manage as a result of tenure review of Crown pastoral lease land, or 48% of land that has gone through the process.

The argument over whether Doc would be better concentrating on current responsbilities rather than stretching shrinking resources – staff and capital – over more land is continuing.

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