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ORC Pest Management Strategy - Inadequate

Press Release

29th September

ORC Pest Management Strategy - Inadequate

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society is dismayed that the Otago Regional Council's proposed pest management strategy excludes most of the severe animal and weed pests in Otago.

The Otago Regional Council released proposals for managing pests in September and members of the public have until 9th October to present submissions.

Only two new weed species were proposed to be added - a wilding pine tree, and the wetland weed, Spartina.

Sue Maturin, Forest and Bird's Southern Conservation Officer said the Society has been advocating for the control of wilding trees for years and we are pleased that Council is considering controlling at least one of the wilding tree species, (Pinus contorta).

"This is a great step forward, however there are at least 32 other weeds, including other wilding trees and more than 8 animal pests which are threatening Otago's natural ecosystems, and need to be included in the Strategy."

"The Otago Regional Council has taken a minimalist approach to weeds and pests, when compared with our neighbouring Southland and Canterbury Councils. Most other Councils have taken their environmental responsibilities much more seriously than Otago." Sue Maturin said.

"For example both Canterbury and Southland are considering requiring management of a much wider range of plant pests as well as goats, possums, deer, mustelids and feral cats."

"We believe the Council should go back to scratch, and present a discussion document which identifies all the current weed and animal pests in Otago, and suggests a range of options and costings which the public can evaluate, and then we can make informed choices."

"The way the ORC's draft strategy is presented, means that groups like ours have to do the research to identify the range of pests in Otago. It is very frustrating when this is the responsibility of Regional Council's." Sue Maturin said.

ENDS

For information contact: Sue Maturin 03 477-9677ph(w) 03 476 1907(H) or 025 222- 5092

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