Rodney’s ‘out of control’ weed problem
An ‘‘out of control’’ weed problem is causing a local politician to urge residents to have their say in the council’s consultation on pest management.
Rodney Local Board member Louise Johnston said in her area, including Coatesville and Dairy Flat, weeds such as privet, woolley nightshade and gorse were an issue that seemed to be getting worse. The problem was ‘‘everywhere’’ - in private property, including that of absentee landowners, and on roadsides, she said.
‘‘You just have to have one person in the street with a gorse block, and then that gorse is going to keep spreading.’’
The issue was further exacerbated in Dairy Flat, particularly on vacant sites, for example, a 70 acre-site ‘‘of complete yellow’’ when gorse was flowering, she said.
Johnston said there didn’t seem to be adequate enforcement of the requirement for residents to clear certain weeds to within 20 metres of their land boundary. Folks who were new to the area wouldn’t necessarily know which plant species were weeds, and more education and resources were needed to help residents deal with weeds, she said.
Auckland Council has received three complaints for private properties and 11 complaints for berms outside properties in Coatesville in the past 12 months.
Landowners are required to clear gorse and woolly nightshade to within 20 metres of their land boundary. Privet is not controlled but banned from sale and can be controlled by community groups.
Rural berms are taken care of by Auckland Transport (AT) contractors, but residents are responsible for mowing berms in front of their properties.
Auckland Council biosecurity team manager central/south Ron Matthews said the team generally acts straight away on complaints, and there is no minimum number before it is dealt with. Complaints regarding private land are forwarded to the biosecurity team, and the complainant contacted within two days. The action taken is guided by the council’s Regional Pest Management Strategy (RPMS) 2007.
Matthews said AT deals with complaints about AT managedland and directly organises control for containment pest plants. The RPMS 2007 is under review as part of the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan public consultation, which takes place in February and March.