Waikato Regional Council has today agreed to fund the national bovine tuberculosis (TB) eradication programme for one more year at the existing level of $650,000.
The decision was based on 41 submissions to the 2014/15 Draft Annual Plan on whether to continue funding the regional share of the national TB programme.
Of those, 23 did not support the council’s proposal to stop collecting funds from rural ratepayers on behalf of TBfree New Zealand. Seventeen submitters supported stopping regional funding.
In May 2012 the council decided to continue collecting the funds for the $650,000 regional contribution to the programme for a further two years. This was to give TBfree New Zealand time to find alternative funding mechanisms, rather than using the regional council as a collection agency.
However, councillors considering what proposals to include in the 2014/15 Draft Annual Plan heard there had been continuing delays by TBfree New Zealand to review their funding strategy. As a result, TBfree New Zealand requested that the council fund a net $705,000 contribution to the TB programme in 2014/15.
During today’s meeting councillors said that rates were the wrong mechanism for funding the TB programme and that they looked forward to the outcome of TBfree New Zealand’s review.
Chairperson Paula Southgate is part of a regional council sector group that is looking at developing a strategic approach to align regional council and TBfree New Zealand pest control programmes.
The 2014/15 Annual Plan is due to be adopted on Thursday 26 June. Visit www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/annualplan to read the annual plan submissions.