Environment Waikato’s regional pest management committee has decided to recommend to full council a proposal that gives landowners greater influence over how pest control is carried out on their land.
Currently, if landowners want a more expensive control method than the one recommended by Environment Waikato then council staff have the discretion to require landowners to pay the extra costs involved.
Recommendations put to the committee yesterday sought to put in place a more formal process and give landowners an opportunity to appeal to the committee over paying extra costs.
“It’s a process of equity and transparency that we’re keen to see put in place,” said biosecurity and heritage group manager John Simmons.
The committee agreed to both the more formal process over requiring extra payment and to allowing landowners to appeal staff directives to the committee.
After an appeal to the committee, the council could then decide to either insist on the landowners paying extra costs, have the extra cost met by ratepayers, or abandon the proposed work.
The committee’s decision also affirmed current practice of having staff, in the first instance, seeking a mutually agreeable pest control approach with landowners that does not increase costs or reduce effectiveness.
Additionally, the committee agreed the whole issue of charging landowners for extra costs should be reviewed as part of the council’s Long-Term Council Community Plan process next year.
Yesterday’s committee decision needs to be ratified by the full council.