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Media Release: Consultation is now open for Otago’s proposed Regional Pest Management Plan and Biosecurity Strategy

11 months ago
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The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is asking for submissions on the Proposed Regional Pest Management Plan and feedback on the proposed Biosecurity Strategy.

The proposed plan is the regulatory document that outlines both the ORC’s and land occupier’s roles and requirements in managing specified pests that can have an impact on Otago’s economy, communities and environment.

As the current plan expires in 2019, the ORC has drafted a proposed plan that will cover the next ten years.

ORC councillor Andrew Noone, who is the chair of the pest reference group that helped develop the proposed Regional Pest Management Plan and proposed Biosecurity Strategy, said it was a positive step for Otago.

“I’m pleased we signed off these documents today, and can now take them to the public for their views. The new plan will do a great job at protecting Otago from pest plants and animals that can have a negative impact on our environment and economy, as well as the people who live in and visit the region,” he said.

Five pest management programmes are incorporated in the proposed plan. These include programmes around exclusion (preventing the spread of pests), progressive containment (containing or reducing distribution of pests over time), eradication (reducing the infestation to zero), sustained control (providing ongoing control), and site-led programmes (controlling pests in a specific place to protect its values).

New additions to the animal pest list include feral cats, feral deer, feral goats, feral pigs, hedgehogs, mustelids, possums, and rats.

Some of the new additions to the plant pest list include Chilean flame creeper, banana passionfruit, moth plant, 11 species of wilding conifers, and wild Russell lupins.

ORC Director of Environmental Monitoring and Operations, Scott MacLean said, “We’ve developed the proposed Regional Pest Management Plan in tandem with our Biosecurity Strategy. The strategy outlines ways to proactively manage biosecurity issues in Otago, before they escalate.

“It also encourages a collaborative approach towards these initiatives to come from individuals and communities, all the way up to support from a national level,” he said.

Submissions on the proposed Regional Pest Management Plan and feedback on Biosecurity Strategy are open from now until 14 December 2018.

Submissions can be made online at https://yoursay.orc.govt.nz/pestplan, at ORC’s Alexandra, Dunedin and Queenstown offices or public libraries throughout Otago.

Alternatively, you can call the ORC customer service team on 0800 474 082 to have a hardcopy form sent out to you.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Scott MacLean – ORC Director Environmental Monitoring and Operations – 027 411 9459
scott.maclean@orc.govt.nz

FOR COMMUNICATIONS CONTACT:
027 627 5894 or media@orc.govt.nz


Consultation has concluded

Natural Balance 9 months ago
I strongly oppose adding cats to the pest list. Even in the comments below there is lack of clarity about what is a feral cat and what is a cat that has been dumped or left behind when its owners moved away. I have no confidence that ORC will be any better at telling the difference if this ill-thought-through policy were to be implemented. Since feral cats have learned to survive without people, and regard people as danger, they are not the cats seen around and about. No, those are the ex-pets, progeny of ex-pets, and current beloved pets. TNR works. Desexing pets works since there are fewer kittens adopted in haste then abandoned when inconvenient. The $$ would be better spent on regular free or subsidised desexing clinics. With promotional help from a pet food company a free food packet could be given when a cat is desexed before it has had a chance to breed as an incentive NOT to "let Puss have one litter, for the children."Hedgehogs, yes they eat eggs and baby birds. However, since they also eat slugs and snails they are gardeners' friends so "pest" should be a classification restricted to areas where there is significant risk to ground-nesting birds and native slug & bug populations.Lupin, like gorse and broom, has pretty flowers and is a nitrogen fixing soil improver plant. Unlike gorse it is not painful to walk amongst, nor does it burn fiercely. I see no reason for it to be classed as a pest. Especially when gorse and broom flourish unhindered all over the province. Clearly there are no resources uncommitted, just waiting for another plant to eliminate so as to have something to do.
Athol Bayne 9 months ago
SirI wish to advise my opposition to cats being categorized as pests . They are important means of protecting public health from rodent based diseases including hemorigic fevers and certain types of influenza. Plus many people are dependant on cats as companions that often have to be let out for toilet reasons and could be accidently trapped or poisoned causing there owners emotional distress.Thank You for protecting public health by ensuring a appropriate levels of cats are maintained.I hope are aware Dunedin from early days of sailing ships had a population of rats that carried Bubonic plague and cats were almost solely responsible for there eradication saving countless lives.Once again thank you for your time.Athol Bayne
FrostyFred 10 months ago
I find the fact you have added feral cats to your list extremely worrying and disturbing. Dunedin Cat Rescue have been working tirelessly to help control the feral cat population and are doing a brilliant job with their trap-neuter-release programme. If you don't think it's enough, give them some money to help them do more! Some of these 'feral' cats, become very loving pets for families and go on to live comfortable lives.Also, I am very worried about how a 'feral' cat will be determined. How does one of your officers recognise a feral cat and know 100% that it's not a family pet that has either lost it's collar, or refuses to wear one. If you catch a domesticated cat and fail to find a chip, how will you find the cats family home? If you find a chip but it's information is out of date, how will you make sure you return the cat to its family? I think there are far too many questions to ensure that you don't upset and devastate a family with the loss of their family member.Finally, cats tend to hunt at night, birds don't come out at night generally, they're all tucked up in their nests. What a cat is hunting tends to be small mammals such as some of those other pests you've listed above. So in actual fact a feral cat can help curb a rat population without the need of chemicals and is helping you do your job. That fact alongside Dunedin Cat rescues efforts of TNR means that the problem is in hand and there is no need for your officers to go round killing cats.If this list keeps growing, where will it end, feral dogs, homeless people???
Liz Fisher 10 months ago
I totally support Belindas previous comments. Queenstown Cat Rescue have worked hard for 9 years keeping cats under control. I totally support this work and want the Queenstown cat colonies to be left alone. There is wonderful community support for the work Qtn cat Rescue do. I do not support cats being included in this.
Belinda 10 months ago
Feral cats should not be included as a pest animal ! Over the last 9 years I have proudly been a volunteer for the Queenstown Cat Rescue and have 3 beautiful well love Ex-feral cats and my families beloved pets. The Queenstown Cat Rescue have proven that their trap-neuter-release program has reduced the feral cat population significantly on a massive scale. Their trap-neuter-release program is a humane approach to addressing community cat populations, both stray and feral. It saves cats lives and is effective. It also improves the lives of cats, addresses community concerns, reduces complaints about cats, and stops the breeding cycle. It also improves the co-existence between outdoor cats, and humans in our shared environment. There are many scientific studies and communities all around the world with trap-neuter-release programs and proof that this program reduces and stabilses populations of community cats. Queenstown Cat Rescue was established in 2009 where their trust deed states a “no kill policy” and are proud to honour this policy. Ever cat No Matter What gets a chance. As a result of hard work by a lot of volunteers the stray cat numbers have been bought under control in many areas of Queenstown, Glenorchy, Kingston, Cromwell and surrounding areas.Feral cats are not pest!!
Lisah 10 months ago
“Feral cats should not be included as a pest animal. Over the last 9 years Queenstown Cat Rescue have proven that their trap-neuter-release program has reduced the feral cat population significantly on a massive scale. Their trap-neuter-release program is a humane approach to addressing community cat populations, both stray and feral. It saves cats lives and is effective. It also improves the lives of cats, addresses community concerns, reduces complaints about cats, and stops the breeding cycle. It also improves the co-existence between outdoor cats, and humans in our shared environment. Scientific studies and communities with trap-neuter-release programs are proof that this program reduces and stabilses populations of community cats. Queenstown Cat Rescue was established in 2009 where their trust deed states a “no kill policy” and are proud to honour this policy. As a result of their hard work, the stray cat numbers have been bought under control in many areas of Queenstown, Glenorchy, Kingston, Cromwell and surrounding areas.I have spent many hours dedicated to helping with this programme and have caught many cats alongside my partner and friends. Many of those animals have gone to loving homes where they are loved and cared for by beautiful people in the community. It would break my heart to ignore the hard work and massive difference that QCR have done to reduce the numbers of cats in this area which is documented and easy to see as a resident in this town for the last 5 years. It's down to the humans who have left their cats behind and more education for those ignorant people.
MilsBrad 10 months ago
WE NEED YOUR HELP - OUR COMMUNITY CATS LIVES WILL BE AT RISK IF YOU DONT SPEAK UP FOR OUR CAUSE: It’s important that you all have your say when it comes to protecting your own community cats, and QCR’s community cats. We have worked extremely hard over the last 9 years focusing on reducing the stray cat population, where we have made a significant impact on a massive scale.Otago Regional Council have issued a summary guide to the “proposed regional pest management plan & bio-security strategy. As part of this plan they made the feral cat a new addition as a classified pest. Our trap-neuter-release program has proven to be successful where we target these colonies, de-sex, ear tip for identification and place them in a controlled environment where we manage, maintain and feed them. We have proven statistics that this program is a success. We ask for your support by submitting your online submission to oppose their proposition by clicking on the below link. The following is an example you could submit:-https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fyoursay.orc.govt.nz%2Fpestplan%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR229goc8rpZO2aZEZ7hIVt3cz3RoDbnJ65t9sVviML6eXCEd53dxYh0qCU&h=AT3DkyptiLwl5ApwMi14lOVhuCKcORhWki4LlLuy7-GY_jpvjDSxSdypivAdQupaAbLpNFzRFJXl0r829rAFw6l7AKKrPW7ddqNymc5TXesWFN53nbhrAvWIBOIkWQK7BQYou can copy & paste the following to submit with your submission:-“Feral cats should not be included as a pest animal. Over the last 9 years Queenstown Cat Rescue have proven that their trap-neuter-release program has reduced the feral cat population significantly on a massive scale. Their trap-neuter-release program is a humane approach to addressing community cat populations, both stray and feral. It saves cats lives and is effective. It also improves the lives of cats, addresses community concerns, reduces complaints about cats, and stops the breeding cycle. It also improves the co-existence between outdoor cats, and humans in our shared environment. Scientific studies and communities with trap-neuter-release programs are proof that this program reduces and stabilses populations of community cats. Queenstown Cat Rescue was established in 2009 where their trust deed states a “no kill policy” and are proud to honour this policy. As a result of their hard work, the stray cat numbers have been bought under control in many areas of Queenstown, Glenorchy, Kingston, Cromwell and surrounding areas.I am the proud owner of to rescue cats from QT Cat rescue, who would have otherwise ended up abandoned and feral.
Sazza 10 months ago
In section 6.5 of the Proposed Otago Regional Pest Management Plan you suggest the site-led management of the Otago feral cat population. I only support this in that I would like to see further support of humane and socially accepted solution which is TNR (Trap Neuter Release). For this suggest contacting and funding charities such as Cat Rescue Dunedin which currently already do their best in lowering the feral cat population in Dunedin. I do not believe there are other sustainable methods which would not also target pets. I also suggest that education regarding neutering pets should be increased leading to regulations imposing their spay and neuter, much as with dogs.TNR has show it can be successfully used as outlined in these papers:McCarthy, R.J., Levine, S.H. and Reed, J.M., 2013. Estimation of effectiveness of three methods of feral cat population control by use of a simulation model. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 243(4), pp.502-511.Levy, J.K. and Crawford, P.C., 2004. Humane strategies for controlling feral cat populations. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 225(9), pp.1354-1360.Robertson, S.A., 2008. A review of feral cat control. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 10(4), pp.366-375.