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Horizons Weed Out the Problems

GM 01 30 EJG 9 May 2005

Horizons Weed Out the Problems

HORIZONS Regional Council plans to get tough on the issue of weeds and are asking for help from the community.

Avid gardeners and people who care about the environment will jump at the chance to be part of a consultation process that Horizons are initiating.

Horizons has launched its Regional Plant Pest Management Strategy Review with a discussion paper that contains information about how Horizons intends to tackle pest plants and how the public can get involved in making a difference.

Pest plants are reaching epidemic proportions in New Zealand with around 300 of the country’s approximately 20,000 exotic plant species being classed as environmental pest plants.

While most introduced plants start off as ornamental additions to gardens, 70% percent have ended up classed as environmental weeds.

At the recent Manfeild Park Garden Festival, Horizons pest plant staff commented on how many people were ashamed to find what they thought was a lovely colourful plant in their garden was actually on the list of Horizons’ most wanted.

Horizons spends $1.5 million each year on pest plant control and say it is worth remembering the virulent climber Old Man’s Beard was a plant originally bought into the country for sentimental reasons and that pest plants threaten the region’s natural areas and valuable production and recreational land.

Horizons reviews its pest plant strategy every five years.

Horizon’s Fleur Maseyk says,

“The damage caused by pest plants is now the single biggest threat to the natural heritage of the Manawatu-Wanganui Region.

“Pest plants are an issue that impacts on all of us across the region, from urban gardeners to occupants of lifestyle blocks and agricultural or horticultural land.

It is our challenge as a region to implement a strategy that effectively protects our economic and ecological values.”

Horizons wants the management of pest plants to concern everyone and is calling for the public to contribute to the review process by phoning for a copy of the discussion paper on Freephone 0508 446 749, considering the issues raised in the Horizons’ discussion paper and returning it promptly thanks to the postage paid feedback form, checking out www.horizons.govt.nz or emailing plantpestreview@horizons.govt.nz for a copy.

ENDS

Horizons Regional Council is the trading name of the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council

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