Biosecurity Advisory Groups championing biosecurity in Canterbury

Environment Canterbury is proposing that new community groups be established to assist in effectively managing plant and animal pests across the region.

The Biosecurity Advisory Groups will provide an important interface between Environment Canterbury and the community on biosecurity, with group members providing advice and support for regional biosecurity programme delivery in their area.

As first reported in Farmers Weekly on 23 April 2019, Environment Canterbury councillor Tom Lambie said: “Flexibility is needed to help farmer-landowners respond not only to legacy pests, but also to be part of biosecurity efforts to prevent new pests from arriving and becoming established.”

Review and restructure

Currently, there are 11 pest management community groups throughout Canterbury, the focus of which has traditionally been on production pests.

There have also been two pest-specific committees, the Chilean Needle Grass and Hurunui Nassella Tussock Committees.

As indicated in the Long-Term Plan 2018-2038, a lengthy review has been conducted on how to make these committees more successful and well supported.

The main change proposed is restructuring to four committees: Northern, Banks Peninsula & Christchurch, Central and Southern.

The groups would:

  • meet 2-3 times per year and be open to the public;
  • be informal advisory groups, rather than formal committees;
  • look at both primary production pests and pests which impact biodiversity and cultural values;
  • consider not only production pests within a district, but all biosecurity threats within a wider area and across the region;
  • provide advice and be champions for biosecurity within their communities; and
  • be made up of members who: have a range of biosecurity experience and expertise; have solid links to their local communities; and are future and solutions focused.

Lambie says: “We need to look at the solution now that will give permanent success for farmers in managing biosecurity risk and pest management that will ultimately make the difference in the future.”

Find out how to become a biosecurity champion

Environment Canterbury is holding public meetings throughout the region to discuss and take feedback on the proposed groups and seek expressions of interest from the community.

Dates for public meetings

  • Monday 10 June 2019, Timaru, Caroline Bay Community Lounge, 5.30pm-7pm
  • Thursday 13 June 2019, Christchurch/Banks Peninsula, Tai Tapu Community Centre, 5.30pm-7pm
  • Tuesday 18 June 2019, Ashburton, Ashburton Trust Centre, 5.30pm-7pm
  • Thursday 27 June 2019, Cheviot, Cheviot Hotel, 5.30pm-7pm

More information 

Visit our Biosecurity Advisory Group page for more information on the purpose and role of the groups or contact us on biosecurity@ecan.govt.nz. If you are unable to attend one of the meetings above, but would like to join via Skype, please email us to arrange.