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Published: 2004-03-25 00:00:00

Urban residents and lifestyle block owners would pay a fairer share of controlling plant and animal pests in the Region under a new targeted rate proposed in Environment Waikato’s Long-Term Council Community Plan.

Properties under two hectares would pay a new Pest and Weed Control rate of $5.20 a year per property towards controlling high threat plant and animal pests, like mothplant and Argentine ant.

It would also cover providing advice to landowners with plant and animal pest problems and fund monitoring and enforcement of plant pest problems in urban and lifestyle areas.

Urban residents have previously contributed towards biosecurity costs through their General Rate, and the new targeted rate is designed to make the costs transparent as well as equitably share the costs.

The proposal is included in Environment Waikato’s Long-Term Council Community Plan that is about to go out for public consultation.

Chairman Neil Clarke said pest control was a significant issue for the Waikato Region with just over $11 million allocated towards it in 2004-2005. The proposed rate would ensure urban property owners and small lifestyle block owners contributed towards pest control.

It would also reduce the contribution of General Rate to biosecurity programmes, where rural ratepayers effectively pay disproportionally more through General Rates and the rural Biosecurity rate.

The existing Biosecurity rate for properties over two hectares is to remain for the remaining three years of the Regional Pest Management Strategy term.

The General Rate would continue to fund the bulk of community initiatives, biological controls, surveillance and management.