A recent report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on weed management calls for better leadership nationwide.
The report, called Space Invaders: A review of how New Zealand manages weeds that threaten native ecosystems, said priority needs to be given to weed management.
The report questions whether enough is known about the threat “this silent vegetative army” poses. It says disconnected databases of valuable information, inaccessible information and limited surveillance on “the weed battleground,” are major problems in weed management.
Auckland Council biosecurity principal advisor Imogen Bassett told a Weed Management Political Advisory Group meeting last month that while Council was leading in weed management in some instances, it did not get a “glossy report card” on every aspect of weed management.
Bassett said there were inconsistencies between Council policy documents.
Pest species were unable to be bought or sold, yet Aucklanders needed to get a resource consent to cut down that same pest species, Bassett said.
The inconsistencies came from Council having “different values at different times”.
Bassett said that the commissioner’s report sought a focus on a national policy direction.
“Regional councils have recognised there is a real challenge in this area and have put more money into this. This is not the same for central government.
“Weed control is much more challenging than small animal management under Predator-Free,” Bassett said.
Committee member Sandra Coney said Council needed to have a better plan to manage pest plants, particularly in parklands. She said the commissioner’s report “dropped without ripples”.
“There was an understanding from the public about the threat of predators but there needs to be more awareness about the impact of weeds on New Zealand ecosystems,” she said.
The full Space Invaders report can be found on the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment website: www.pce.parliament.nz/