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  Council » About us » Requests for official information » Published responses to information requests

Published responses to information requests

Waikato Regional Council publishes information made available in response to information requests where there is likely to be general public interest.  The information is categorised by subject and then year.  Requests and responses may be paraphrased.


Pest control - animal


Rabbit virus

Please send me quantitative assessment study outcomes of measurement of rabbit number in Waikato over recent years.

Council relies on complaints to assess where the problem areas are across the region.

The decision on where to release the new strain of virus has been based around those complaints.

I assume this evidence has been used as rationale for the recent introduction of the rabbit virus. If not, please explain why.

The release sites have proved difficult to control using conventional methodologies (shooting, poison and fumigation) due to proximity of people,

buildings and domestic animals. A biocontrol agent is ideal in these situations as there is no risk to humans or other organisms and the vectors of spread do the work.

Please also explain why councillors, vets & other relevant stakeholders were not consulted prior to the decision for the virus release.

The application for the approval by central government of the virus was publicly notified for consultation in November – December 2017. 

Finally, please let me know why other less risky & more humane methods of rabbit control have not been funded, encouraged or measured,

again as a potential rationale for this virus release decision.

The virus is specific to European rabbits, not even other members of the same taxonomy family (Lagomorphs) are affected.

The Ministry of Primary Industries’ (MPI) animal ethics committee assessed how humane the virus is and approved its release. 

Landcare Research commented that the virus is one of the more humane control methods due to its rapid nature. To see more visit this page(external link)

Responsible pet and farmed rabbit owners can choose to vaccinate their rabbits with the Cylap vaccine by their local vet.

This vaccine can protect against both strains of the virus. As mentioned above, conventional methodologies have inherent issues when attempting to use

in the locations where Council has identified the need for rabbit control, and those that have been deployed have been insufficient to deal with the problems. 

Entertainment, catering, gifts and membership


Entertainment, catering and gifts

What are the total costs for the period 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017 for entertainment, gifts, and catering expenses?

Entertainment: $0.

Catering: $114,452.62. These costs include catering costs for all meetings, with both internal and external attendees.

Gifts (Non-Financial rewards) $14,229.84 – These costs are mainly for staff non-financial rewards (e.g. vouchers given for staff recognition awards). Of this total approximately $2,800 was spent on flowers for bereavement, ill health, and leaving gifts. 


For the 2016/17 financial year:

The total amount paid by the Council to Local Government NZ, including, but not limited to, any membership dues, any meetings, the costs of attending any conferences, and any other spending was $86,807.20.

The total amount paid by Council to the Society of Local Government Managers, including, but not limited to, any membership dues, any meetings, the costs of attending any conferences, and any other spending was $39,302.24.

The total amount paid by the Council to any local Chamber of Commerce, including, but not limited to, any membership dues, any meetings, the costs of attending any conferences, and any other spending was $23,684.50. 



Sick leave

In total for the 16/17 financial year 27,180 hours of sick leave were taken by staff. As per Council’s Annual Report for 16/17 at the year-end, there were 431 FTE who worked 40 hour weeks, and part time staff who made up 52 FTE’s. A total of 483 FTEs at the year end. 27,180 hours at 8 hours a day gives 3,397 full time days, with 483 FTE’s that means approximately 7.0 full days per employee. Note that this includes sick leave that was gifted by one employee to another via Council’s sick leave bank. This is a scheme set up by Council to allow staff to gift excess sick leave to other staff members in need. This results in a greater quantum of sick leave taken overall, than would otherwise be the case.


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