3 Oct 2009

Shift in focus for possum control

6:23 pm on 3 October 2009

Traps and baits to control possum numbers could be used more intensively if a new strategy aimed at reducing the rate of herd infections for bovine tuberculosis gets the go-ahead.

Agriculture Minister David Carter says the proposal suggests some significant changes to the National Pest Management Strategy, including a shift in focus away from the number of herds that are infected to eradicating TB from wildlife over large areas, including heavily-forested hill country.

The strategy is seen as an important part of keeping deer and cattle herds free from the disease.

Mr Carter says the strategy is a significant programme with an annual budget of $82 million, and is primarily funded through contributions from the Government, beef, dairy and deer industries, as well as regional councils.

Animal Health Board's operational policy manager Nick Hancox says while the strategy is still aimed at reducing possum numbers overall, there's a change around how the animal controls are applied.

Trapping and poisoning would be applied more intensively and for longer periods in certain areas.