Pest con­trol ev­ery­one’s is­sue

Te Puke Times - - Rural News & Views - By MAR­TIN MEIER Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Se­nior Re­gional Pol­icy Ad­viser

“We make our friends; we make our en­e­mies; but God makes our next door neigh­bour.”

We may not agree if the neigh­bour that just leers at you all the way to the front door is merely strange or ac­tu­ally bad. Who knows?

We are more likely to all agree mem­bers of a gang that set up next door will not win the neigh­bour of the year award.

How about a stu­dent digs? I am as­tounded by the thought process that en­cour­ages stu­dents to test a loud in­stru­ment late at night on a week­day in a sleepy neigh­bour­hood. Maybe stu­dents live in a dif­fer­ent time and space di­men­sion.

There are some be­hav­iours by neigh­bours we can all agree make them a pest and harm­ful.

Farm­ers in the Bay re­gion must con­tend with the bad be­hav­iour of a rather big and pow­er­ful neigh­bour.

Feds has re­cently made a sub­mis­sion on the pro­posed Re­gional Pest Man­age­ment Plan for the Bay of Plenty Re­gion.

The plan pro­poses the Crown should not be ac­count­able to neigh­bours for its con­trol of pests. Whereas we want the Crown, like all other landown­ers, to be held re­spon­si­ble for the pests that came on to farms from its land.

A pest man­age­ment rule that is clas­si­fied as a good neigh­bour rule means an ad­ja­cent landowner has the power to hold you ei­ther li­able for breach of your pest con­trol re­spon­si­bil­i­ties or en­force those re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

A good neigh­bour rule can be made bind­ing on the Crown and is the only way in which the pest man­age­ment plan may cause the Crown to be­come li­able. How­ever, the coun­cil in its pest man­age­ment plan pro­posed to ex­plic­itly re­lease the Crown from good neigh­bour rules, claim­ing that a ne­go­ti­ated un­der­stand­ing be­tween the Crown agen­cies and the coun­cil will be suf­fi­cient.

The ne­go­ti­ated un­der­stand­ing around po­ten­tial bound­ary pests be­tween the coun­cil and Crown agen­cies are of lit­tle com­fort. A good neigh­bour has no means to en­force it, only the coun­cil can. There­fore, it re­quires the coun­cil to be proac­tive and mon­i­tor Crown land. It also re­quires the coun­cil to be will­ing to nav­i­gate a po­lit­i­cal mine­field and take on the Crown that it is sub­or­di­nate to. We can­not see this hap­pen­ing.

We want to en­sure the Crown is treated the same as other landown­ers that have to act as good neigh­bours or, if they don’t, will be held ac­count­able.

It is ironic the Govern­ment is pro­mot­ing its preda­tor free by 2050 pests plan but si­mul­ta­ne­ously does not want to be held ac­count­able for pests con­trol. The re­al­ity for our mem­bers ad­ja­cent to that Crown land is the Govern­ment, De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and Ter­ri­to­rial Lo­cal Au­thor­i­ties do not proac­tively con­trol pests, but of­ten rather choose to wait un­til there are ob­vi­ous prob­lems and con­trol is there­fore more dif­fi­cult.

This means farm­ers’ pests con­trol mea­sures are largely un­der­mined and they are left to fight alone to stay in front of the pests. Pests do not care about prop­erty bound­aries and will go from Crown land to pest free farms. Pests man­age­ment only works if ev­ery land owner is tak­ing part. If the re­gion is to con­trol a pest it makes sense that the pest does not have a haven to breed and mul­ti­ply in. It is also un­fair to ex­pect the good neigh­bour to pay to fix the prob­lems cre­ated by the bad neigh­bour’s lack of pest con­trol. It is time the Crown stop be­ing the pest of the neigh­bour­hood.

‘Farm­ers in the Bay re­gion must con­tend with the bad be­hav­iour of a rather big and ’ pow­er­ful neigh­bour.

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