Skip to main content
Author(s):
Published: 2008-05-27 00:00:00

Environment Waikato chairman Peter Buckley has praised cooperation between regional councils which has helped secure the extra $1.3 million a year for Crown agencies’ pest control outlined in last week’s Budget.

Mr Buckley said the increased contribution to the Crown’s so-called exacerbator fund came after coordinated lobbying of Government by regional councils.

The extra money will support Department of Conservation (DOC) and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) pest control efforts.

“It is great to see the Government responding so positively to the joint approach from regional councils. It shows that our good cooperation can help achieve solid results,” said Mr Buckley.

Money from the exacerbator fund is used to help DOC and LINZ comply with regional pest management strategies. The Government is not legally obliged to comply with these strategies even though it is a very significant land owner and its participartion in pest management schemes can be crucial to their success.

Regional councils have long argued more money should be placed in the exacerbator fund so that the Government is paying more of its fair share of pest control. Prior to last week’s announcement, the exacerbator fund had been at the same nominal level for a decade.

Regional councils are praising an extra $1.3 million a year for pest control outlined in last week’s Budget.

The new money for the Crown’s exacerbator fund will be used to support Department of Conservation and Land Information New Zealand pest control efforts on their lands.

Money from the exacerbator fund is used to help the two Government agencies comply with regional pest management strategies. The Government is not legally obliged to comply with these strategies even though it is a very significant landowner and its participation in pest management schemes can be crucial to their success.

Regional councils have long argued more money should be placed in the exacerbator fund so that the Government is paying more of its fair share of pest control. Prior to last week’s announcement, the exacerbator fund had been at the same nominal level for a decade.

Speaking on behalf of regional councils, the chairman of Local Government New Zealand’s regional affairs committee Stephen Cairns thanked the Ministers of Biosecurity, Conservation, and Land Information for delivering this “much needed increase for Crown agencies’ pest control efforts”.

“This is a good start,” said Mr Cairns, who is also chair of Otago Regional Council. “The extra additional $1.33 million in 2008-09 will help Crown agencies improve their compliance with regional pest management strategies and act as better landowners.”

However, councils hope the Government will dig even deeper in future to ensure enough money is in the exacerbator fund to help bridge the large shortfall in Crown funding for the crucial pest control work carried out by regional councils. Regional councils feel this work has never received sufficient support from the Government and that the exacerbator fund’s total should reach more than $10 million, which is more than double the current level of this budget.

DOC does a considerable amount of pest control to protect habitat and biodiversity in its priority areas. But failing to control pests on non-priority Crown lands may exacerbate pest issues for regional councils and private landowners.

“Without proper Crown compliance with regional pest management strategies, regions must sometimes delay or curtail their pest management goals.”

Horizons Regional Council chairman Garrick Murfitt also welcomed the extra funding. “For a long time now regions have been encouraging the Crown to be a better neighbour when it comes to pest control of private land.

“In our region we spend approximately $3 million each year from rates to fund a comprehensive pest control program on private land. Without adequate pest control on public land our ratepayer investment can be put at risk. The funding boost is a good step forward and sends a positive message to us and the private landowners about the Crown being a better neighbour. Moreover, it’s a hopeful sign as councils and the Crown begin to discuss the very important issue of the future of pest control throughout New Zealand.”