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Privet trial aimed at understanding impacts

Waikato people who feel they’re suffering health effects from privet blooming this spring are being invited to take part in an allergy trial.

Those wanting to take part should contact Waikato Regional Council biosecurity officer Darion Embling or Amelia Luxton on 0800 800 401. Between 20 and 30 people who believe they suffer from privet will be required.

The trial is being run through the Auckland allergy clinic in association with Hawkes Bay Regional Council. Waikato testing as part of the trial will be done in Hamilton on 13 December. The test will involve a “prick test” and a questionnaire. People taking part will need to stay off medication for three days beforehand.

The announcement comes as the council has been getting its usual seasonal rise in the number of calls about privet as the plants flower in spring.

“There is no definitive proof that privet causes allergic reactions but people do raise privet as an issue affecting their health, and we’re keen to understand more about how they’re affected,” said Mr Embling.

Under Waikato’s rules, land owners or occupiers are required to control privet on their property if a valid health-related complaint (verified by a medical certificate) is received from a neighbour.

The privet said to be causing the problem must be within 50 metres of the complainant's dwelling. Anyone may complain about privet causing health problems in public amenity areas such as:

  • parks and reserves
  • playgrounds
  • alleyways and walking tracks.

Privet is banned from sale, propagation, distribution or commercial display. It is also required to be destroyed in all transport corridors, such as along railway lines.

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