It is ironic the Government is promoting its predator free by 2050 pests plan but simultaneously does not want to be held accountable for pest control, writes Federated Farmers senior regional policy advisor Martin Meier.

"We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next door neighbour"

We may not agree if the neighbour that just leers at you all the way to the front door is merely strange or actually bad. Who knows? Some may like the attention.

We are more likely to all agree members of a gang that set up next door will not win the neighbour of the year award.

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How about a student digs? I am astounded by the thought process that encourages students to test a loud instrument late at night on a weekday in a sleepy neighbourhood. Maybe students live in a different time and space dimension.

There are some behaviours by neighbours we can all agree make them a pest and harmful.

Farmers in the Bay of Plenty region must contend with the bad behavior of a rather big and powerful neighbour.

Federated Farmers has recently made a submission on the proposed Regional Pest Management Plan for the Bay of Plenty Region.

Read more from Federated Farmers here.

The plan proposes the Crown should not be accountable to neighbours for its control of pests. Whereas we want the Crown, like all other landowners, to be held responsible for the pests that came on to farms from its land.

A pest management rule that is classified as a good neighbour rule means an adjacent landowner has the power to hold you either liable for breach of your pest control responsibilities or enforce those responsibilities.

A good neighbour rule can be made binding on the Crown and is the only way in which the pest management plan may cause the Crown to become liable.

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However, the council in its pest management plan proposed to explicitly release the Crown from good neighbour rules claiming that a negotiated understanding between the Crown agencies and the council will be sufficient.

The negotiated understanding around potential boundary pests between the council and Crown agencies are of little comfort.

Federated Farmers senior regional policy advisor Martin Meier. Photo / Supplied
Federated Farmers senior regional policy advisor Martin Meier. Photo / Supplied

A good neighbour has no means to enforce it, only the council can. Therefore, it requires the council to be proactive and monitor Crown land.

It also requires the council to be willing to navigate a political minefield and take on the Crown that it is subordinate to. We cannot see this happening.

We want to ensure the Crown is treated the same as other landowners that have to act as good neighbours or, if they don't, will be held accountable.

It is ironic the Government is promoting its predator free by 2050 pests plan but simultaneously does not want to be held accountable for pest control.

The reality for our members adjacent to that Crown land is the Government, Department of Conservation and Territorial Local Authorities do not proactively control pests, but in my opinion often rather choose to wait until there are obvious problems and control is therefore more difficult.

This means farmers' pests control measures are largely undermined and they are left to fight alone to stay in front of the pests.

Pests do not care about property boundaries and will go from Crown land to pest free farms. Pest management only works if every land owner is taking part.

If the region is to control a pest it makes sense that the pest does not have a haven to breed and multiply in.

It is also unfair to expect the good neighbour to pay to fix the problems created by the bad neighbour's lack of pest control.

It is time the Crown stop being the pest of the neighbourhood.