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Published: 2004-09-16 00:00:00

Landowners in the Pirongia to Honikiwi area are joining a Community Possum Control Scheme to continue the war on possums.

The 158 landowners are the first in the Waikato to transfer from a bovine Tb control project to a Community Scheme as Animal Health Board-funded programmes taper off in the Region.

A group of landowners conducted their own survey and determined a very high level of community support. Of the 34 who responded to a formal survey, 30 endorsed the scheme and approved a separate rate to cover the cost. At least 75 percent of respondents need to support the scheme for it to go ahead.

Environment Waikato proposed a rate of $2.70 (plus GST) per hectare in its Long-Term Council Community Plan to be collected from the landowners, and a Steering Group has been established to determine the work programme, monitoring, community consultation and recommend the rate to the Council. The AHB will meet half the cost in the first year.

The scheme is expected to be self funding with Environment Waikato meeting supervision and monitoring costs and may become a vehicle to promote biodiversity initiatives.