All 21 Otago Regional Council candidates have been implored
''to take an active lead'' in the war against wilding pines,
and two candidates have already voiced their support.
Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group (WCG) cochairman
Peter Willsman, of Queenstown, says in a letter to all
candidates the Otago community is concerned the Otago
Regional Council, as the leading pest agency in the region,
has not taken a proactive role in wilding control.
This inaction was despite other district and regional
councils becoming proactive and the rampant wilding conifer
tree spread now seen as a nationwide problem.
''We would like to see ORC take an active lead and offering
financial, staffing and a stronger RPMS [regional pest
management strategy] in support of the wilding issue,'' Mr
Willsman said in the letter.
''The wilding problem is a regional resource management issue
and is consistent with ORC policies. It is important that you
as an ORC candidate, a representative of the Otago
community, recognise the wilding issue and urge ORC to follow
the direction of other district councils and step up their
involvement in the wilding issue.
''The voting population of Otago, the Queenstown Lakes
District Council and WCG will look to you to enforce the
RPMS, to review the RPMS and to support local initiatives.''
Mr Willsman said the WCG and Otago community had been
lobbying the regional council for support on wilding trees
for many years.
''Every year, the response was that wilding conifers are the
landowner's responsibility and a landscape issue,'' he
''We are finding that landowners have insufficient income
from grazing their land to control wildings. Often the
problem is postponed, with consequent exponential seed
Candidates are told the ORC includes Pinus contorta in its
RPMS, but enforcement has been minimal.
Mr Willsman said the group would like a response from each
candidate on their stance in the wilding conifer issue.