Last meeting of term for Environment Southland

The last full council meeting for Environment Southland was held yesterday in Invercargill. Photo: Laura Smith
The last full council meeting for Environment Southland was held yesterday in Invercargill. Photo: Laura Smith
The last Environment Southland full council meeting for the 10th triennium was held yesterday and at least two of the 12 elected members will not return.

Crs Ross Cockburn and Rowly Currie did not stand for re-election this year.

Saturday is the final day to vote in local body elections, and until then it will not be known who will be on the regional council for Southland.

The last meeting was an ordinary affair, but council covered a fair number of topics.

Included in these was the adoption of the 2018-19 annual report, the first of the 2018-28 long-term plan. Other topics of interest discussed were the Mataura Liaison Committee Funding Application and an Undaria management update.

The committee funding application requested, on a year trial basis, for $5000 be granted to six community catchment groups. It was recommended by ES staff the funds would come from interest from the Mataura rating disaster reserve, and ES would ensure ''any allocation of public money is properly scrutinised and auditable through a credible process''.

Efforts to control the spread and population of Undaria (an Asian seaweed) at Breaksea Sound in Fiordland began in 2010, and the weed was found in Beach Harbour in 2017.

A survey found it is now widespread and ''dense'' in Breaksea Sound, and there are no existing tools available to eradicate the pest successfully.

Chairman Nicol Horrell said ''it is pretty disappointing that our efforts have done little to discourage it ... as a commercial plant, it's an unwanted species. Where does that leave us going forward? It does have commercial value.''

Biosecurity and biodiversity operations manager Ali Meade said there was an ability for it to be removed for commercial purposes, and this is done in some areas of Southland - ''you need to get permission from MPI as [it is] an unwanted organism ... to harvest it, and I believe Ngai Tahu are working on that ... that is one of the options we are looking at.''

Efforts are also being undertaken to minimise its spread.

laura.smith@alliedpress.co.nz

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