Wilding spread horrifies
The wilding pine scourge is the ‘‘biggest, single environmental issue’’ Central Otago faces, Otago Regional Council candidate Gerry Eckhoff says.
Eckhoff is seeking re-election for a seat on the Otago Regional Council and was with a host of other ORC candidates, mayoral candidates and Cromwell Community Board candidates at a forum in Cromwell last week.
‘‘Many talk about water and water quality, of course that is important, but there has been independent audits taken that show Otago has - despite what some tell you - the best water in New Zealand...Unless we get on top of the (wilding pines) in the next two or three years, maybe five, we are going to fail because of the seed spread which is exponential. It is horrifying.’’
A member of the public questioned regional council candidates about the ORC’s role in funding building works.
‘‘I think we need to let go of the stadium...I never saw the regional council as having to build buildings,’’ she said.
Candidate Michael Laws said the ORC had $54m in reserves, and their priority was to spend $25m on new headquarters in Dunedin.
‘‘We must not allow that wastage of public money when out there is an environment in the balance.’’