The why & how of pest management

Pest plants and animals are one of the greatest threats to the region’s remaining indigenous biodiversity.

Introduced animals such as feral goats and deer eat native vegetation and damage habitats that are important to other native species.

Possums are a major threat to both native flora and fauna and can also transmit bovine TB to domestic livestock.  Effective TB control requires possum numbers to be kept extremely low.

Many introduced plant species compete with native plants for space and resources changing native habitats, resulting in further biodiversity losses.

Pest animals

The Council's approach to pest animal control is guided by the Pest Management Strategy for Taranaki: Animals, adopted in 2006 and currently under review. 

The strategy covers the entire Taranaki region with the exception of Crown land, and identifies 23 pest animal species in the region, all with potential to severely damage indigenous biodiversity in the region.

Management programmes

The Council’s main focus for pest animal control is possum control through our Self-help Possum Control and Urban Possum Control programmes.

All pest animals have a designated level of intervention, depending on their categorisation for eradication, containment or surveillance.

We also monitor the management of other pests in the region and assist the Department of Conservation (DOC) to eradicate four species of exotic fish from our waterways. DOC is a very good source of information on how to stop the spread of pest fish in New Zealand.

Potential pests

Some species have potential to become new pests. The rainbow lorikeet, for example introduced parrot competes with native birds, dominating food sources and nesting sites. and damaging fruit crops. See the Ministry for Primary Industries website for more details.

Pest plants

The Council’s Pest Management Strategy: Plants (also currently under review) identifies 27 pest plant species. At least 19 of these are a threat to biodiversity, including old man’s beard which is considered the most damaging invasive climbing weed in New Zealand.

Council programmes

Each pest plant identified has a management programme according to its designation. Our strategy focuses on controlling pest plants categorised for eradication and containment

We directly control four terrestrial pest plant species: climbing spindleberry, giant reed, mignonette vine and Senegal tea. We also control old man’s beard in the Kaūpokonui River catchment area. With some exceptions, land occupiers have obligations to control pest plants on their property.

Owners and occupiers

Under the rules of the Pest Plant Strategy land owners and occupiers are obliged to control containment plant species found on their property and we do inspect properties to ensure weed control responsibilities are being upheld. Our inspections focus on Category A, B and C properties

  • Category A properties are managed to the Council’s satisfaction with no recent significant infestations of a containment pest plant on the property. Category A properties are visited as time and resources permit
  • Category B properties are also are currently managed to the Council’s satisfaction but have recently had significant infestations of a containment pest plant. Category B properties are inspected at least once a year.
  • Category C properties are properties that the Council considers inadequately managed. They currently, or in the previous season, have significant infestations of a containment pest plant on the property. Category C properties are inspected at least three times a year.

If you are unsure about your obligations in managing pest plants or for help and advice, contact our Environment Services team