Fate of pest-control assets still undecided

A Central Otago rabbit. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
A Central Otago rabbit. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
The Otago Regional Council is yet to decide what it will do with its rabbit-control assets.

After the council said its rabbit-control assets, including its carrot cutters, oat cookers and depot in Galloway, near Alexandra, were no longer required, a public consultation opened from mid-May to June 3 and received 160 submissions.

Responsibility for rabbit control in Central Otago remains with landowners and occupiers, following a decision to that end about five years ago.

Council biosecurity and rural liaison manager Andrea Howard said the council had a range of viewpoints to consider after receiving the responses.

"We are following up on some options as a result of the feedback, to be considered in September."

Council staff would present an update on the implementation of its new regional pest management operational plan, including its rabbit programme, at a regulatory committee meeting next month.

The update would include further information on the consultation and options for the rabbit-control assets.

Council operations general manager Gavin Palmer has said there are three options, depending on the outcome of the consultation.

Those are: disposing of poison assets to allow private contractors to take over; leasing the assets to private contractors; or recommissioning them for the council to re-enter the market as a provider of poison and pest control.

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