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News Article

New plants suggested for pest control
Dec 8, 2005
Author: Auckland Regional Council

Environmentally damaging plants including agapanthus, phoenix palm and English ivy, are being suggested for possible inclusion in the Auckland Regional Council's Regional Pest Management Strategy 2007 - 2012.

The ARC has just released a discussion document describing possible changes to which pest plants it controls and how it controls them. Aucklanders are being asked to provide feedback by 28 February 2006.

The discussion document, Protecting Our Natural Environment, is the starting point of a process to create a Regional Pest Management Strategy for 2007 - 2012. There will be a number of opportunities for the public to offer feedback and submissions on the strategy.

Sandra Coney, Chair of the Parks and Heritage Committee, says the ARC's current pest management strategy has been successful in controlling some pest plants.

"Significant progress has been made controlling old man's beard, African feather grass, green cestrum, cathedral bells and 20 other high-threat species.

"We are looking at adding new plants because scientific research shows they are invasive and/or poisonous. They include agapanthus, English ivy, Norfolk Island hibiscus, phoenix, bangalow and Chinese fan palms."

ARC Biosecurity Manager Jack Craw says the council has been monitoring the detrimental effects of these plant species.

"The ARC is now so concerned that we are proposing that these plants should go into the strategy's Surveillance category, which means their sale, propagation and distribution is banned across the region," he says.

"We are also proposing changes for other plant species in the Total Control and Containment categories.

"We want to hear the regional community's views on our suggestions by 28 February next year."

New measures are also being proposed for dealing with animal pests. This could cover some exotic freshwater fish species, wild sulphur-crested cockatoo and feral cats.

Copies of Protecting Our Natural Environment, which include a questionnaire, are available from www.arc.govt.nz/biosecurity or by calling (09) 366 2000. Feedback on the discussion document closes on 28 February 2006. Workshops will be held for those groups or individuals who need more detailed information. A new draft strategy will be released for public consultation from 30 June to 31 August 2006.