Old man's beard is becoming a nightmare throughout the Tararua, with not enough resources available to get it under control, Tararua District councillors believe.

At their monthly meeting, councillors were told the weed is rampant in Pongaroa, Mangahei and southern Tararua despite a state of the environment report tabled by Horizons Regional Council stating "plant (and animal pest) control programmes appear to be working reasonably effectively".

"Old man's beard is rampant and along with tutu [pronounced toot], is getting out of control," councillor Jim Crispin said. "Tutu is seriously bad for cattle."

Tutu is particularly dangerous for stock and dairy cows have been known to die after eating it.


Tararua District mayor Roly Ellis said Horizons Regional Council had reasons for not getting on top of the old man's beard problem.

"They say they don't have the money or manpower and can't spray by chopper," he said. Last August Mr Ellis asked Horizons to send a team into the district to blitz the creeper, but Michael McCartney, Horizons chief executive, said at the time old man's beard was in an explosive phase and was too widespread and dense for a successful region-wide control programme.

However, councillor Warren Davidson said the council has missed the bus on this issue. "We should have had a submission in to the regional council as part of their annual plan," he said.

Mr Ellis said it wouldn't do any harm to raise awareness and he would be writing to the regional council on the issue.