Help to protect what we treasure

A new pest management plan for Otago

Pest plants and animals can damage our environment if they aren’t managed well. 

Our new pest plan outlines how we will manage pests in Otago over the next ten years.

Otago’s new pest plan will:

  • List the pest plants and animals that will have regulatory control around how they are managed
  • Bring Otago’s pest management in line with other regional councils around NZ, especially our neighbouring councils
  • Reflect the values of the Otago community.

A regional pest management plan is a regulatory document that sets out the roles and requirements (such as rules) of ORC and land occupiers to manage specified pests. The proposed plan is often supported by a biosecurity strategy, which provides higher-level guidance and integration, and can be more adaptive and responsive while still setting out leadership for the region.

The Biosecurity Strategy will be orc’s comprehensive approach to biosecurity management in Otago.
In addition to covering the pests in the proposed plan, it outlines ORC’s broader role in biosecurity, and a number of
important actions and projects to better manage pests and harmful organisms. This includes programmes to work
more pro-actively and collaboratively with organisations and groups on pest management. It also addresses unwanted
organisms declared under the Biosecurity Act 1993, and organisms of interest, which are harmful organisms that are of
interest to Otago should the distribution or degree of impact of those pests, or our ability to control them, change.

Regional councils can manage pests in their region under the Biosecurity Act 1993. Although pest management plans are a choice rather than a requirement, all regional councils have pest management plans. 

Otago’s pest management plan sets out how Otago Regional Council and the community will undertake pest management across Otago. It’s a regulatory document that contains pest control programmes, objectives, and rules, to manage pests that cause harm to the wellbeing of our people and environment. 

The current Pest Management Strategy for Otago expires in 2019 so we need a new plan for the next ten years. New laws mean there are changes to how regional councils must manage pests. There have also been changes to how a Regional Pest Management Plan must be developed, as well as what needs to be in it.


  • Good neighbour rules have been proposed for gorse, broom, Russell lupin, ragwort, nodding thistle, rabbits and wilding conifers. These are new rules that can bind land occupiers, including the Crown, to perform pest control if a neighbouring property is doing so.


  • The plan proposes to extend the gorse and broom free areas beyond the existing areas.
  • New 10:10 rules are proposed, meaning if a landowner is gorse and broom free 10 metres from their boundaries, then neighbouring properties must also manage these pest plants 10 metres from their boundary.


  • African feather grass, Chilean needle grass, false tamarisk and moth plant have all been added to the list of pests we hope to keep out of Otago.


  • There are proposed new rules for Russell lupins, and wilding conifers now include more species.


  • New site-led programmes have been added to manage a range of additional pest plants and animals in areas where there are special biodiversity values. These include Chilean flame creeper, Darwin’s barberry, possums and mustelids.


  • This is a different approach from the current plan. The programmes are: exclusion, eradication, progressive containment, sustained control, and site-led programmes. Please see the summary guide for more information.


  • The new proposed plan follows a national template to ensure some consistency across NZ. This will bring Otago’s proposed plan in line with other regional councils around NZ, especially neighbouring councils.


  • Simpler rabbit control rules are proposed that no longer require management plans. Please refer to section 6.4.6 in the proposed plan.
  • This means ORC can take compliance action sooner and our rules align with neighbouring Councils.


  • A new way of allocating the costs of managing the pests in the plan is proposed, which will change how the management of different species are rated.

Plants and animals are assessed against criteria set out by law, including how much harm they can cause, where they are (distribution) and their potential to spread. A cost benefit analysis is undertaken to make sure the benefits of managing the pest would outweigh the costs. 

Not all pests can be in the plan and we need to be smart about the pests we choose to manage so we can provide the biggest benefit to our region. Certain pest species may already be managed by a different agency, or might be better suited to a different management approach. 

Where are we up to?

Consultation is now open and we invite public submissions on the proposed Regional Pest Management Plan and/or feedback on the proposed Biosecurity Strategy. You can find more information on this at 

Late 2017 we went to the community so they could help shape what goes into the new pest plan. We asked stakeholders and communities for their views on:

  • Pest management issues in Otago
  • What does and doesn’t work well in the existing plan
  • What could go into the new pest plan
  • What other pest management activities could we be more involved in

Click below to read a summary of what we heard:

Help to Protect our Patch engagement summary

What will happen next?

After consultation closes on 14 December, ORC will review all the submissions and feedback and people will have be able to present their submissions on the Regional Pest Management Plan to the hearing panel if they requested this during the consultation period.

Do you want to keep updated?

Email and tell us you want to receive updates as Otago’s new pest plan is developed.

Back to top
Online Maps & Data: