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Published: 2010-06-11 00:00:00

Environmental Waikato’s regional pest management committee has today agreed on holding negotiations with two King Country landowners over the question of proposed extra costs involved in treating their properties using ground-based pest control rather than aerially applied 1080.

The decision affects two adjoining properties in the Mokauiti 1 section of the Central King Country priority pest control area (PPCA).

The committee agreed that a sub-committee would be formed to meet with the landowners to try to find a resolution consistent with EW policy by 6 July. The committee also agreed that if no resolution could be found the landowners would accept the aerial application of 1080 at no cost to the landowners.

Under a policy introduced in 2008, the council decided that landowners would generally be required to pay any significant extra costs if they wanted a more expensive treatment option than EW proposed. If landowners refused to pay the extra, options were to pursue costs through the courts, have ratepayers fund the extra costs or abandon the work. Today’s meeting was the first time the committee had been asked to rule in such a case since the new policy was introduced.

Committee chairman Simon Friar felt the policy introduced in 2008 was valid but said evidence from the landowners at today’s meeting suggested there may have been problems with the consultation process and communications breakdowns. There was also significant landowner concern with the proposed costs of ground control by EW’s contractor, Cr Friar said.

He successfully proposed the establishment of the sub-committee to look in more detail at the issues raised by the two cases to try toresolve the impasse.

Both landowners had indicated they would struggle to pay the extra cost of ground-control and would accept aerial 1080 if no resolution could be found during negotiations, Cr Friar said.

"I hope a new round of discussions between council representatives and the landowners can help us find a satisfactory way forward," Cr Friar said.