Auckland's Pest Management Strategy

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  • #45355


    Would like your opinion as we will probably make a submission on the proposed Auckland Pest Management Strategy.

    Some of you will remember that at our AGM in 2014 a member asked the MBNZT make a submission to the Auckland Council about the Pest Plant Strategy. The strategy has just been released and we are able to make comment before 23 November.

    Perennial nettle (Urtica dioica) is listed as being ‘Surveillance’.

    Gorse is listed as being ‘Containment (boundary control) in rural areas and Surveillance elsewhere and Community Initiative’.

    Containment means that there is a statutory requirement to remove a pest plant from a property – either totally or to a certain distance from the boundary.

    Surveillance plants are banned from sale, distribution and propagation though there is no requirement for removal.

    One of our members says: “…the nettle should be removed from the list entirely so that it is not a pest and gorse should be retained in butterfly parks for the long tailed blues.”

    Would appreciate other members’ thoughts so that we can make an informed submission.

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #45725


    Here’s a first draft… Bear in mind that:

    • A Total Control pest plant means that the council do the control work, at their own cost, on public or private land.

    • Containment means there is a statutory requirement to remove a pest plant from a property, either remove it totally, (removal) or remove it to a certain distance from your boundary (boundary control).

    • Surveillance plants are banned from sale, distribution and propagation though there is no requirement for removal (though some work is done by council in certain sites, and removal by landowners is encouraged).

    • Community initiative is a programme that allows a group of landowners/occupiers to control a species (plant or animal) on a collaborative basis. Community initiatives can be site-led or species-led and they can also ask the council to undertake enforcement action on landowners/occupiers who do not control the relevant pest. However, there are a few criteria to meet before that would happen.


    We endorse Auckland Council’s strategy in minimising harm to (amongst others) species diversity, recreation and Maori culture as well as primary production. Our suggestions would strengthen this strategy and while helping our butterfly and moth populations would certainly not be detrimental to Council’s strategies.

    Auckland Council’s Role

    We believe Auckland Council’s role in pest management should be primarily education, and secondly enforcement of the regulations.

    Pest plant species

    Buddleia – Buddleja davidii – currently Surveillance, and
    Lantana – Lantana camara – Total control (rural areas) and Surveillance elsewhere

    We would suggest that the classification for Buddleia and Lantana have “Community Initiative” added so that people can be free to plant these. Both plants are excellent nectar sources for butterflies, bees and birds, and have not proven to be weedy in the Auckland region.

    There are many cultivars and other varieties of Buddleia available as well which have never been an issue in any part of New Zealand. However, at present it is illegal to plant them.

    Gorse – Ulex spp. – Containment (boundary control) in rural areas and Surveillance elsewhere and Community Initiative – we suggest that no change be made.
    Gorse is one of the host plants for the long-tailed blue (Lampides boeticus) and it is important that where gorse is growing and is not a problem, it should be retained. Gorse is excellent at enriching soils through its nitrogen-fixing availability and provides a nursery for other plants.

    Perennial nettle – Urtica dioica – Surveillance – change to Community Initiative
    Stinging nettle is one of the host plants for our admiral butterflies, yellow and red (Vanessa gonerilla and V. itea) and does not appear to be a pest plant in the Auckland region.

    Over the last forty years the writer has seen a huge reduction in the number of overwintering sites for monarch butterflies due to the removal of pine trees which the adult butterflies use as overwintering roosts. As well, Butterfly Bay, one of their biggest overwintering sites in Northland has been altered forever with the removal of the ‘pest plant’ Lantana. With the lack of this important nectar species monarchs no longer overwinter at Butterfly Bay. Where the writer had seen hundreds of monarchs at Butterfly Bay in 1984, entomologist Peter Maddison surveying the site in August 2006 found only five butterflies.

    We therefore suggest that where education material is produced for stakeholders encouraging the removal of certain plants, other nectar-producing plants for butterflies and moths be suggested as alternatives. Frequently the plants that are available commercially for gardens are devoid of nectar, and this is detrimental to our insect species.

    Pest animal species

    Social wasps, i.e. Polistes spp. and Vespula spp.
    Stronger controls and more education must be undertaken by Auckland Council to encourage ratepayers to be aware of wasp nests and encourage their removal. Social wasps are a pest to humans and pets, often restricting recreational activities, and they are also proving to be devastating to our moths and butterflies.
    Paper wasps accounted for most stings received by Auckland people in a 1992/93 survey. (Dymock JJ, Forgie SA, Ameratunga R 1994. NZ Medical Journal 107: 32–33) Four anaphylactic deaths attributed to bees/wasps in Auckland 1985-2005. (Low I, Stables S 2006. Pathology 38: 328–332.)

    Auckland Council needs to be aware of any products that are commercially available to control these species, such as Vespex, and also be more proactive in educating its ratepayers and residents as to how to successfully reduce numbers of wasps. For example, we are surprised at how few people are aware of the difference between bees and wasps.

    The future of pest control

    We would like to see pest plant species managed without the need for herbicides or pesticides. At present we understand that Roundup (glyphosate) is being used to maintain roadside berms but this produce has been identified by the World Health Organisation as a Class 2A probable human carcinogen, with many countries banning the product. Aucklanders deserve a beautiful city free from toxic cancer-causing chemicals and a safe and healthy environment.

    Auckland is changing with the many people from overseas settling here, many of them from densely populated urban areas such as Hong Kong, Manila and Mumbai. These people are not aware of our flora and fauna let alone pest animal and plant species.
    In 1991, a little more than 5 percent of Aucklanders were Asian. In 2006, the figure was 19 percent, and by 2021, it is likely to be around 27-28 percent of the city’s population (about 450,000 people) – six times the 1991 population. It has been – and will be – an extraordinary level of growth. Asian communities are easily the city’s fastest-growing. Unlike the Pasifika communities, which are now two-thirds New Zealand-born, Asian communities will remain predominantly immigrant for some time yet.

    Asia New Zealand Foundation Bulletin

    Auckland Council’s education process needs to be widened to ensure that the material is not just offered in various languages but an in-depth awareness of the very basics about our natural environment is covered. Immigrants need to know what makes Auckland the special place that it is.



    Thanks everyone for your contributions, much appreciated. I am putting together a document now – has to be in in FOUR days! Would like more comments/thoughts when I’ve done that, will try and get it uploaded tonight (Monday).



    Probably the main reason for the Long Tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus) becoming established in New Zealand was the ready supply of Gorse, and possibly the eradication of Gorse may well reduce the butterflies population to a some extent. However the hostplant of the Long Tailed Blue extends well beyond Gorse, and includes various types of legumes such as broom, lupin, snail plant, medicago, tree Lucerne and all types of peas and beans.
    As the larvae feed on the flowers rather than leaves, they can be seen as a biological control for Gorse, just as the recently introduced Honshu White Admiral is, to help control the Japanese Honeysuckle.
    Nettles should be allowed to grow where they are not a problem in order to help the Red and Yellow Admirals survive, as there are few other hostplants available for them. The decline in the numbers of the Red Admiral butterfly is reason enough to tolerate this plant.



    I would like to think that gorse has its place as long as it is contained. It is great at enriching soils in difficult terrains through its nitrogen fixing ability and providing a nursery type situation for other more desirable plants to be planted in. All kinds of critters make it their home even though it is introduced.
    Same goes for Urtica dioica. It provides a fabulous amount of foliage for our admirals, but certainly needs to be grown with care.

    Susan (Hibiscus Coast)


    Dane Keriboi Hawker

    I am against gorse being retained. Its a horrible plant. Are there any alternatives that could be used?

    All for Urtica dioica being removed from the list



    Hi folks – this is really important – if we are to represent our members’ thoughts and feelings about pests in Auckland, we need your feedback. Please do give us your comments by adding them below. This is now URGENT. Thanks Jacqui



    I agree with the member re: Urtica dioica being removed entriely from the list, as since I have had Urtica dioica in my home garden, I have had frequent visits of our native butterfly, the Red Admiral, as well as the Yellow Admiral. The nettle is a great food source for caterpillars that hatch throughout summer.

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