Wild­ing spread hor­ri­fies

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE -

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.’’

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