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Published: 2009-05-05 00:00:00

Recent surveys in Kihikihi and Te Aroha by Environment Waikato pest plant contractors have confirmed there is still plenty of privet about in these towns.

Privet is a pest plant under EW’s regional pest management strategy (RPMS).

It is very widespread in the region generally and is declared a pest plant because of its invasiveness and ability to take over natural areas, and also because flowering plants have been linked to health problems such as hayfever or asthma.

Land owners are encouraged to remove privet but it is not compulsory in all situations in the Waikato. Where EW receives a health related complaint from someone living within 50 metres of  privet, and their condition is verified by a doctor, the landowner is required to remove the privet. If the privet is a hedge, it may be sufficient to trim it to prevent flowering.

The situation is, however, different in Kihikihi and Te Aroha. In response to community concerns about privet, these towns became privet “community initiative” areas several years ago.

This status designates privet as a “total control” plant in Kihikihi and Te Aroha, meaning all landowners are required to prevent it flowering. Landowners with privet on their property will soon receive a notice advising them of the presence of privet, the requirement for its control and information on control methods.

Under EW’s new RPMS the privet control rule has been extended to include total control on road reserves and transport corridors, such as railway reserves.

Contractor Heidi Pene said it was good to see local councils have been taking a proactive approach to privet in the towns. “They are to be complimented for the substantial privet control they have already taken on their land. Now we hope private landowners will show a similar commitment to tackling privet.”