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Published: 2012-04-19 00:00:00

The Animal Health Board has the ability to use alternative funding methods if Waikato Regional Council ends its regional share contribution to the board’s work, says biosecurity group manager John Simmons.

He was responding to an AHB statement issued today about the council’s draft Long Term Plan which suggests ending the regional share after 2012-13.

“We have been collecting a council rate for some time to fund a regional share towards the AHB’s operations in the Waikato,” said Mr Simmons.

“There has not been the accountability and transparency we would have liked for how this money is spent.

“We have agreed to fund a regional share of $825,000 in 2012-13 but not beyond that.

“We believe that the AHB should look at an alternative funding mechanism from 2013-14. It has the power to strike a land levy, increase the stock slaughter levy or use some other funding mechanism.

“So in no way should any withdrawing of funding by the regional council be portrayed as unreasonably creating a funding gap that puts Tb control or farming at risk.

“The AHB has known our intentions for some time and is already looking at alternative funding mechanisms.

“The regional council is in fact looking to increase its own pest control operations in coming years  – so we are not pulling back in any way from our own pest control work.

“We will continue to work with the AHB to exploit synergies between our respective pest control operations.

“We’ll of course take the AHB’s submissions on the draft Long Term Plan into account before making final decisions.”