Simplify paper, councillor asks

Farmersd would "throw up their hands in disgust" if handed the Otago Regional Council's rabbit control compliance strategy and procedures, Cr Duncan Butcher says.

The council last week considered a paper detailling procedures for promoting or enforcing rabbit control in Otago as part of the implementation of the Regional Pest Management Strategy 2009.

Cr Butcher said he was concerned that the paper was complicated, even for him, with his 20 years' experience in rabbit issues.

He was also involved in putting together the strategy.

"If [it was] given to farmers, they would throw their hands up in disgust. They would not understand it."

A precis of the process needed to be written which set out the procedures more clearly, he said.

"I'd like to see councillor input into an easier version than what is said here."

He also hoped the council had the right approach so that it was not emphasising "thumping people" but instead highlighting the first steps of the process, such as working with landowners.

"We need to think very carefully about how we handle this."

Cr David Shepherd said it was important "user-friendly" procedures were developed and that the ramifications of any breaches were clear.

"If it can be rewritten without reducing the impact for those who do transgress, we should try to do that."

Chief executive Graeme Martin said the paper brought together all the legal issues around enforcing the strategy and needed to be clear.

A booklet on the strategy would be developed which would achieve much of what Cr Butcher wanted, as well as laying out the obligations of landowners.

rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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