Reaction to the condition of trees planted in Masterton's town square has prompted a couple to question the competence of the district council.

Charlie Page and his wife Lourdes, who have settled back in town after a long stint in Australia, questioned whether people should have confidence in the council over any issue when "they are incapable of looking after trees which were planted outside their front door".

"We returned to Masterton to retire in 2009 after eight years in Australia.

"In 2010 we moved into a new house on land at the end of Taranaki St.


"On the west side of our property we share a 100m boundary with a council reserve.

"For about six months two cows had been grazing the reserve -- until they were finally taken away earlier this week -- on so little pasture the cows had been putting pressure on our boundary fence and eating our young shelter belt," Mr Page said.

He said a few weeks ago he contacted the council after two trees had been badly damaged, leaving a message on Charlie Fairbairn's cellphone.

After not getting a reply he emailed Sue Southey and mayor Lyn Patterson, raising several issues including the beef cattle and lack of food for them.

"Even sheep would find it hard to exist on the poor pasture and there were so many cowpats the cattle had to graze right up to their droppings, which they would normally avoid.

"The cattle had been neglected. They were suffering, with little food to eat, particularly with the recent cold weather.

"As a consequence they had been eating our shrubs and trees."

Mr Page said he spoke with councillor Chris Peterson who said that he would bring the issue up at a council meeting, and had also contacted Wellington SPCA.

He said Mrs Southey had contacted him and told him a council worker visited the stock, saying they were okay and an electric fence would be installed, which was done.

Mr Page said an SPCA inspector who visited told him he would call on the council, that the stock should receive supplementary feed and if he noticed this was not done he was to contact the SPCA.

"I did that two days later, leaving a phone message."

A week later the cattle were still in the paddock and no supplementary feed had been given.

He said he had earlier sent a submission to the council which included his observations on stormwater drains.

"A drain runs east from South Rd through council property, then along my southern boundary through two neighbouring properties, dog-legging briefly into my property and then into farmland.

"The council land it runs through is a wilderness of hawthorn trees in particular and branches and other debris get washed down and clog the drain.

"Blackberry is now spreading along the drain which is full of the invasive weed Wandering Jew. The drain is not maintained, the council section is a real mess."

Mr Page said on the western boundary of the council reserve tree stumps have been dumped and are covered with blackberry.

"I would expect the council to be a good neighbour and maintain its reserves.

"Some action was taken on a Saturday a few weeks ago when a group of community workers cleaned weed out of part of the stormwater drain and cut some of the blackberry," he said.