All landowners/occupiers are responsible for controlling velvetleaf on their properties in the Waikato. Information on controlling velvetleaf is available from Waikato Regional Council – call 0800 BIOSEC.
A restricted place is an area of land that has a high risk pest plant, such as velvetleaf and alligator weed. Waikato Regional Council uses its statutory powers under the Biosecurity Act 1993, to declare an area a “restricted place”. Velvetleaf and alligator weed are currently the only pest plants in the Waikato region that require restricted place notices. Restricted place notices remain in force until an authorised person formally notifies the landowner in writing.
Landowners and occupiers are responsible for controlling velvetleaf on their properties. No person shall move, or allow to be moved, any velvetleaf propagules from a contaminated property. No person shall move, or allow to be moved, cultivating/harvesting machinery, any organism, risk goods or other goods into or out of a property that may be contaminated with velvetleaf, without the permission of an authorised person. Velvetleaf is also banned from being sold, propagated, distributed or included in commercial displays.
A breach of a restricted place notice can have very severe consequences such as fines and/or imprisonment as outlined by the Biosecurity Act 1993.
Velvetleaf can be spread by people. For example, machinery operators, cable diggers, utility workers and subcontractors are often not aware of the potential risks their activities pose with pest plants.
Many farmers and other landowners are similarly unaware of how their land could become infested by plant pests such as velvetleaf.
Not all velvetleaf sties have restricted place notices. Only high risk sites where:
Once a restricted place notice is served, the council implements a weed management plan with the landowner/s.
a) No soil or vegetation is to leave the complex while the restricted place notice remains in force. All agricultural equipment with the potential to move velvetleaf seed and/or infested material off site must be washed down with a high pressure hose, on the infected site, to help prevent spread of velvetleaf to new areas. This must be checked by Waikato Regional Council before the equipment is moved to a new site.
b) Waikato Regional Council’s access to the restricted place is to be allowed, as becomes necessary, for the purposes of inspection, surveying and monitoring.
c) The owner/occupier has a strict obligation to keep all staff and contractors, current and potential residents/tenants and outside contractors who operate in the restricted place, informed of the status of this area as a restricted place. It is the landowner that will be prosecuted if the condition of a restricted place is breached.
d) Any new sites of velvetleaf found in this or any other area must be reported to a Waikato Regional Council biosecurity pest plant officer immediately.
e) The owner/occupier may be required to display a sign (example sign used for alligator weed) provided by Waikato Regional Council at all entrances and exits informing of their status as a Restricted Place.
Restricted place notices for velvetleaf have been issued to private land in the region. Please contact Waikato Regional Council for more information about these sites.