ORC rabbit control ‘train wreck’
‘‘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.
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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.