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The question now is by how much.
Cr Laws, the Otago Regional Council deputy chairman, used a discussion of the council’s annual report yesterday to make a plea for greater resources to be put into action against rabbits.
He said his cat had killed 10 rabbits in the past month, which he suspected was more than the council had killed in the area.
‘‘I don’t think we should leave it to stray cats to do the job — or my cat in particular,’’ Cr Laws said.
‘‘We need to boost our presence in this area.’’
The annual report, which was adopted yesterday by the council, said there had been 331 rabbit inspections compared with the council’s target of 130.
Those inspections found only 53% of properties were compliant.
‘‘That means that on almost half the properties that we’ve visited, and we wouldn’t have visited anywhere near a majority of properties, the rabbit menace was such that we were simply losing the battle,’’ Cr Laws said.
‘‘I want to draw to the attention of this [council] table that we aren’t losing the battle, we have lost it.
‘‘And now it’s just the question of how much we’ve lost it by.’’
The annual report covers the gamut of council activities, including leading the establishment of community responses to rabbit management in Lake Hayes, Albert Town and Gibbston, and planning for further facilitated action in Hidden Hills, Queensbury and Moeraki.
In the report’s preamble by council chairman Andrew Noone and chief executive Sarah Gardner, they note a lot of council activity was driven by central government.
Significant government reforms under way continued to affect the council’s work programme ‘‘and these changes affect how we prioritise issues, distribute resources and make local decisions for Otago’’.