ORC rab­bit con­trol ‘train wreck’

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

‘‘It is a train wreck and it is squarely at the feet of the ORC.’’

Cen­tral Otago’s rab­bit con­trol is a ‘‘train wreck’’, with the re­gional coun­cil al­legedly dis­rupt­ing win­ter poi­son­ing pro­grammes.

Pest con­trac­tor Robert An­drews, of Gal­loway, said farm­ers in the Ida Val­ley, and pest con­trac­tors, had been bat­tling with the Otago Re­gional Coun­cil since April for sup­port to con­duct a rab­bit poi­son­ing op­er­a­tion this win­ter but had been ‘‘mucked around’’ to the point the nar­row win­dow to poi­son was fast clos­ing.

The coun­cil is in charge of en­force­ment, and had pre­vi­ously done the poi­son­ing, how­ever within the past cou­ple of years had stepped away from the poi­son­ing, leav­ing it up to in­de­pen­dent con­trac­tors.

There was an un­der­stand­ing the coun­cil would hire car­rot cut­ting ma­chines es­sen­tial for poi­son­ing op­er­a­tions to con­trac­tors, how­ever re­quests had been turned down, An­drews said.

‘‘When we ac­tu­ally went to hire one, we found out we couldn’t. They have ac­tively gone out to dis­rupt the poi­son­ing oper- ation this win­ter in the Ida Val­ley. Poi­son­ing is a win­ter­time op­er­a­tion. The win­dow of op­por­tu­nity is about a six week to two month pe­riod. It is a train wreck and it is squarely at the feet of the ORC.’’

Coun­cil en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing and op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor Scott MacLean said the ORC had not de­nied any con­trac­tors car­rot­cut­ting equip­ment.

‘‘ORC re­ceived a small num­ber of enquiries this year from con­trac­tors want­ing to hire our car­rot pro­cess­ing equip­ment. While we ex­plored the fea­si­bil­ity of this, it po­ten­tially ex­posed us to un­ac­cept­able lev­els of risk and liability. Be­cause ef­fec­tive rab­bit con­trol is weather-de­pen­dent, there was a risk that if we hired the gear out, it could lead to dou­ble book­ing if one con­trac­tor was de­layed by weather when an­other had ‘booked’ the gear.

‘‘We con­tinue to sup­ply pre­pared bait to con­trac­tors and landown­ers un­til they can meet de­mand on their own.

‘‘How­ever, there is noth­ing stop­ping those who are able to buy or build sim­i­lar equip­ment from do­ing so – and we be­lieve an open and free mar­ket is in ev­ery­one’s in­ter­ests.’’

The coun­cil de­cided to sell some of the car­rot pro­cess­ing equip­ment on Trade Me, which was con­ducted openly and trans­par­ently, he said.

❚ See full story on stuff.co.nz

Clyde school­girl Lilly An­der­son, seen here rid­ing Vic­tory Hawk, has re­ceived one of New Zealand’s top pony club awards. The 18-year-old was pre­sented with a New Zealand Pony Club Achiev­ers Award in Welling­ton on Satur­day. She was one of just seven rid­ers aged be­tween 17 and 20 from around the coun­try to re­ceive na­tional recog­ni­tion. The Dun­stan High School pupil was nom­i­nated by the Cen­tral Otago Pony Club for the pres­ti­gious award for her achieve­ments in both dres­sage and event­ing over the past year.

An­der­son was also named Event­ing South­land Young Rider in March.

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