Date: 03 December 2013
The battle to manage pest plants and animals in the Lower North Island is heating up, with the Department of Conservation (DOC) and regional councils joining forces to protect the region's natural assets.
In areas like the Ruahine Ranges, the spread of wilding conifers is altering the landscape and reducing natural water flow to surrounding agricultural lowlands. Tackling this problem, like other pest control programmes, is a big job that crosses council and landowner boundaries. As part of a new pest accord, DOC and three regional councils will begin working more closely together to manage these kinds of issues.
The Chief Executives of Greater Wellington Regional Council, Horizons Regional Council, Hawke's Bay Regional Council and DOC signed the first Lower North Island Pest Management Accord earlier this month.
DOC's director-general Lou Sanson says the Accord will pave the way for more effective management of pests across the Lower North Island.
"The accord will see the four agencies working together from the planning stage, meaning we are all thinking bigger in terms of what we can achieve and coordinating work across the wider region. The Accord will bring benefits to the whole community by protecting the natural capital – water, soil, vegetation – which underpins the economic and social prosperity of the regions."
"DOC is already working with each of these councils individually on pest control projects, but this Accord takes that to the next level. It will enable much greater outcomes for conservation across the whole region."
Greater Wellington Regional Council chairwoman Fran Wilde says the Accord is a formal commitment to sharing knowledge and working together to plan projects that will have a bigger impact.
"By having the three regional councils working collaboratively with DOC we can better manage plant and animal pests. It ensures consistency across the three regions charged with the protection of the lower North Island's natural heritage and allows native plants and animals to not just survive, but thrive in their natural environment,” Ms Wilde says.
The Pest Accord is the latest outcome of a formal conservation partnership between the three regional councils and DOC, which was agreed in December 2011.
Lou Sanson says the partnership has opened the door to much closer collaboration across the agencies.
"Nature can't be managed within geographical boundaries; it's something we all share responsibility for," he says.
"DOC needs to be working with councils and communities to have a bigger impact. This partnership and the signing of the pest accord are a really positive step forward for better conservation management in the Lower North Island."
Chantelle Taylor (Communications)
Department of Conservation
Phone: +64 4 471 3092
Mobile: +64 22 070 9820
Greater Wellington Regional Council
Phone: +64 4 830 4147
Mobile: +64 21 633 589
Horizons Regional Council
Mobile: +64 21 2277 182
Hawke's Bay Regional Council
Phone: +64 6 835 2632
Mobile: +64 27 445 8290
Nature Central Programme Leader
Phone: +64 4 471 9067
Mobile: +64 27 556 7819