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Published: 2010-07-09 00:00:00

Environment Waikato and two landowners have agreed a way forward on possum control on properties in the Mokauiti 1 section of the Central King Country priority possum control area.

The Beveridge and NZ Rimu Ltd properties were earlier this year included in an area that was due to be treated with 1080 applied by helicopter. The owners were informed that if they wanted their properties treated by ground control instead they would have to pay the additional costs – they subsequently told the regional pest management committee in June that they could not afford this.

So the committee set up a sub-committee to try to find a solution. EW staff worked with the contractors to see if the price of ground control could be reduced. Proposed ground control costs were trimmed by about $11,000 for each property to around $10,000 each. This was achieved by:

· A small reduction in the area to be treated

· Suggesting alternative ground methods

· Including landowner labour for some of the work.

The council also offered to waive charges to the landowners for extra interim buffer control carried out because of the delay in treating the properties, and undertook to negotiate a satisfactory arrangement with Horizons Regional Council to ensure the risk of possum re-invasion from the south was minimised.

However, the landowners felt the additional cost of ground control was still too high and agreed their properties could be treated by aerially applied 1080. They will still not be charged for the extra interim buffer control. As for the future, EW has agreed to supply them with bait stations that the landowners will install for use in subsequent "maintenance" possum control on their properties.

Regional pest management committee chairman Simon Friar said: "At the start of this process, I told the parties that we needed to find a solution that we could all work with. I added that no one would be 100 per cent happy with the solution but we needed to find a way forward. The parties will now work together to implement the agreement."

Cr Friar said he noted there were issues relating to communication between the parties. "I have undertaken to have those issues reviewed and remedied where needed."