FNDC vote for cat plan lobby
The Far North District Council has voted in support of a remit which will lobby the Government to grant local authorities the power to introduce tighter controls for cats.
Deputy Mayor Tania McInnes, voted on behalf of the FNDC for the vote which took place at the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) conference in July.
The remit, put forward by the Dunedin City Council, asked LGNZ to lobby central government to implement the national cat management strategy.
The proposal said councils are tasked with promoting responsible cat ownership and reducing feline impacts on wildlife, yet councils’ current powers only allow ‘‘for the purpose of minimising the impact on people’s health and wellbeing’’.
Proposed controls for moggies included compulsory microchipping, de-sexing, locking cats in overnight and making them wear collars with bells.
The remit was passed with 51 per cent of councils voting in favour.
Remits, which are passed, then become official policy to be actioned by LGNZ.
McInnes says it is a difficult and controversial topic, but it’s about prioritising it within council’s normal work requirements.
‘‘Cats of course are cherished by many people. The reality is though, wild and stray cats are a major issue across New Zealand, with real impacts on our wildlife which can also include our pet moggies.
‘‘If we are serious about looking after our ‘backyard’ for future generations, then we will need to take brave steps to do this. It’s a community discussion.’’
A FNDC spokesperson says cat management will be considered as part of the council’s review of the Reserves Bylaw and the Keeping of Animals, Poultry and Bees Bylaw.
This work is scheduled to take place in 2018/2019.
Currently the keeping of cats in the Far North prohibits people from having more than five cats or kittens over the age of three months. It also prohibits people from having cats or kittens if the council decides the felines are or are likely to become a nuisance or dangerous to people and wildlife.
The Whangarei District Council decided ahead of the conference not to vote in favour of the remit.