FNDC vote for cat plan lobby

The Bay Chronicle - - CONVERSATIONS - BAYLEY MOOR

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.

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