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Regional pest management up for discussion

Regional pest management up for discussion

1 December 2005

Plant and animal pests can kill native animals, cause the death of forests, cost farmers money and poison animals and people.

The Auckland Regional Council today releases a discussion document that proposes ways of dealing with the harmful effects of pests.

The discussion document, called Protecting Our Natural Environment, is the starting point of a process to create a new Regional Pest Management Strategy, for 2007 - 2012. There will be a number of opportunities for the public to offer feedback and submissions on the strategy.

ARC Parks and Heritage Committee Chair Sandra Coney says the strategy is vital for the protection of the Auckland region’s unique natural environment.

“Our native bush and animals are under threat if pests aren’t dealt with properly.”

Cr Coney says the ARC’s current pest management strategy has had a number of successes.

“Possum numbers are now very low in the Waitakere Ranges and many other high conservation value areas, including the Hunua Ranges. This has allowed native species to recover.

“Significant progress has been made on controlling pest plants like old man’s beard, African feather grass, green cestrum, cathedral bells and 20 other high-threat species.”

The ARC is proposing to add plants to be banned from sale, propagation and distribution because research shows they are invasive and/or poisonous. They include phoenix palm, agapanthus, English ivy, bangalow palm, Norfolk Island hibiscus and Chinese fan palm.

Also being proposed are new measures for dealing with animal pests. This could cover some exotic freshwater fish species, wild sulphur-crested cockatoo and feral cats.

The ARC implements the Pest Management Strategy by reducing pest numbers, eradicating pest species and preventing them coming back into the region. It also educates people about the threats and impacts of identified pests.

Copies of Protecting Our Natural Environment, which include a questionnaire, are available from www.arc.govt.nz/discussiondocument or by calling (09) 366 2000.

People can view the document and questionnaire on the website and can also provide online feedback.

Feedback on the discussion document closes on 28 February 2006. Workshops will be held for those groups or individuals who need more detailed information. A new draft strategy will be released for public consultation from 30 June to 31 August 2006.

ENDS

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