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Decisions on Regional Pest Management Plan

MEDIA RELEASE
March 15, 2018

Biosecurity in Canterbury - decisions on Regional Pest Management Plan


Environment Canterbury announced today that Council had accepted the recommendations of a Hearing Panel on the Canterbury Regional Pest Management Plan.

Councillor Peter Skelton said this plan is the rulebook for biosecurity in Canterbury and forms a significant element of the overall approach to pest management.

“Pest threat management is an important part of the sustainable management of natural resources,” Professor Skelton said. “Recent serious incursions such as velvetleaf and mycoplasma bovis, plus the concerning prospect of the marmorated stink bug, have raised the profile of biosecurity risk nationally.

“Our Biosecurity programme aims to achieve smart management of pest risks. We reviewed the Regional Pest Management Plan to make sure the right rules are in place to manage existing and emerging pest threats, and to mitigate and prevent damage to biodiversity and production values in Canterbury.

“I am confident the new plan will achieve this, thanks to the contribution of all the submitters, the Hearing Panel and a variety of other experts throughout the region.”

Over the last 20 years, pest management in Canterbury has focused mainly on managing legacy pests that affect production land, such as broom, gorse, rabbits, Bennett’s wallaby and nassella tussock.
“We committed significant resources to this approach,” Professor Skelton said. “It was recognised that some legacy pests may need a different application of control and funding, but not losing the gains we’ve made.”
Environment Canterbury therefore proposed to maintain efforts to prevent existing pests from proliferating, while also increasing our focus on stopping new pests entering the region and becoming established.
“This approach will help us become more resilient, with pests managed for both production land and biodiversity protection purposes,” Professor Skelton said.
The review also made sure our plan is aligned with neighbouring regions’ to help prevent new pests arriving here.
“This presents an opportunity for more proactive initiatives,” Professor Skelton said. “Environment Canterbury will have a leadership role, particularly in the early stages of pest infestation, with extra emphasis on advice, education and working with the community.”
Until the new plan becomes operative, pest management in Canterbury must continue to comply with the current plan: https://www.ecan.govt.nz/your-region/plans-strategies-and-bylaws/canterbury-regional-pest-management-plan/
The new plan is subject to an appeal period of 15 working days. Appeals can be filed by application to the Environment Court (submitters on the proposal only). Once any appeals have been resolved the new Canterbury Regional Pest Management Plan will be made operative.

Key Hearing Panel recommendations

A number of changes were applied to the proposed plan via the hearing process. Some of the main ones were:
o Wild Russell lupin has been included as a pest and there are now rules requiring its control. Russell lupin has rules regarding planting.
o Feral goats on Banks Peninsula have been included as a pest and there are rules regarding to their identification and constraint. The work undertaken by the Joint Goat Working Group (DOC, Christchurch City Council, Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust and Environment Canterbury) would be supported.
o An additional rule for wilding conifer control has been included to address the impact from planted conifers. This rule is to support the conifer control undertaken by the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme funded by MPI, DOC, LINZ, Environment Canterbury and landowners as well as other publicly funded control programmes.
o Changes were also applied to the nassella tussock and Chilean needle grass provisions.

ends

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