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New Pest Plan Shows Shift in Public Awareness

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Pest Management Plan commences today 1 February 2019 after being approved by the Regional Council.

The principle goal of the Regional Pest Management Plan is to limit the adverse effects of unwanted plants, animals, horticultural and marine pests.

These invasive species can have wide ranging effects on human health, indigenous flora and fauna, our heritage, and the regional economy.

There’s been a lot of useful input from the community following the release of a discussion document in 2017 which has helped shape this proposed plan. Council has also been working with key stakeholders including farmers, contractors, agencies and members of the community.

“We thank everyone who has been involved in the development of the Plan, including tangata whenua, farmers, pest contractors, Councils, national agencies and interested members of the public,” says Campbell Leckie, Catchment Services manager.

“There were some significant changes supported by the community in this Pest Plan and a strengthening of programmes supporting biodiversity and the environment. One of these which is a first for a Regional Pest Management Plan in New Zealand is the inclusion of large scale possum eradication areas for farmland."

“It’s taken over two years to develop, but the new plan definitely reflects the change in public awareness and attitude, and the concerns of submitters and stakeholders.”

Major changes in the plan are -
• Inclusion of marine pest management programme.
• Reduction of the catch trap (RTC) rate in Possum Control Areas from 5% to 4%.
• Addition of a ‘good neighbour’ rule for possums - possums will need to be controlled to 5% RTC within 500m of a boundary of a neighbouring property where a possum control operation is in place.
• Inclusion of a Feral Goat Coordinated Management Area (CMA) programme based on the same principles as the successful Possum Control Area (PCA) programme.
• Addition of wallabies as an exclusion pest. These are found in neighbouring regions and the Council wants to keep them out of Hawke’s Bay.
• Inclusion of an old man’s beard programme along the Kaweka and Ruahine Ranges to support the Department of Conservation’s programme in preventing it establishing within the ranges. Addition of 5 pest plant species to an exclusion programme, with the aim of preventing them establishing in the Hawke’s Bay region - Noogoora bur, Alligator weed, Marshwort, Senegal tea, Spartina. These are currently not found in Hawke’s Bay. Cathedral bell and Darwin’s barberry which are in the region have also been included in the plan for the first time.
• Inclusion of a Wilding Conifer programme.
• A new programme that allows Possum Control Areas to be converted to Predator Control Areas or Possum Eradication Areas.
The new plan meets section 75 of the Biosecurity Act 1993.

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