Local bodies vote to herd cats

A double dose from Dunedin at the Local Government New Zealand conference – Dunedin mayor Dave Cull has been elected as the new LGNZ president (a pity it’s not a full time position), and a Dunedin remit was voted for by a bare 51% to bring in cat controls.

National legislation to manage cats

The third remit was proposed by Dunedin City Council and asks that LGNZ lobby the Government on the importance of implementing the final version of the National Cat Management strategy which recognises both the importance of companion cats and indigenous wildlife to many New Zealanders.

Throughout New Zealand councils are tasked with trying to promote responsible cat ownership and reduce their environmental impact on wildlife, including native birds and geckos.  Yet, territorial authority’s powers for cats are for minimising the impact on people’s health and wellbeing, and regional councils’ powers are restricted to destruction of feral cats as pests.  The remit seeks the protection of our wildlife and native species by seeking regulatory powers for cat control, including cat identification, cat de-sexing and responsible cat ownership.

The remit was passed with 51 per cent voting in favour. 

This won’t be popular with cats nor with many cat owners, who may be required to get their moggies to abide by a curfew, not being out at night.

Newly minted president of LGNZ Dunedin Mayor David Cull said it’s about allowing councils to start a conversation about controlling cats if they are affecting wildlife.

“The situation at the moment is while councils have the power to control dogs they have absolutely no way to control cats unless they affect human health,” he told The AM Show.

The remit “specifically acknowledged the value of companion cats to people, so it’s not about trying to stop people owning cats in particular areas,” he said.

“But we do need some controls, because feral cats and in some cases domesticated cats are a major threat to native wildlife.”

“We need some tools, and that’s what we’re asking for,” he said.

There may be issues with cats but they also serve a useful purpose in controlling pests.

The cat population doubled to two at my place last year, and we have more tui and bellbirds around than ever, as well as visits by kereru and eastern rosellas and fantails and waxeyes.

The cats occasionally catch a bird but most often it is a sparrow or a thrush.

But it looks like the Dunedin council and some others are keen on requiring the herding of cats.

They kept as quiet as they could on cats during the local body elections, and now mid term they try to foist it on the public. Devious.

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  1. Strong For Life

     /  26th July 2017

    I have two cats but they are kept inside at night. I cannot wait to see the Christchurch City Council Cat Team in action trying to round up stray or naughty cats. That sight should provide more laughs than an Andrew Little press conference.

  2. Dave K

     /  26th July 2017

    Sure….but why the focus on terrestrial wildlife. Why are these clowns not advocating equally for aquatic biodiversity in New Zealand which is in a far worse state than native fauna.

    For example, the latest Mfe report notes of 39 native fish species reported, 72% are either threatened with (12 species) or at risk of (16 species) extinction

    Click to access our-fresh-water-2017_1.pdf

    In fact many remnant native fish populations in areas like the Maniototo only survive in headwaters because so much water is taken out the trout can’t get upstream to gobble them up (….so ironically irrigation is the thing preserving native biodiversity but…..you won’t see that in a Stuff headline).


    So while everyone loves slipping the boot into farmers for effects on water quality, shouldn’t there be equal emphasis on the parlous state of native fisheries. Having Fish and Game established by statute is like legislating national parks to be managed for deer and possums.

    But yeah, birds are cute so get rid of cats and who knows/cares what a galaxiid is, as long as weekend warriors can play make believe hunter gatherer.

    • Birds are better than cute, they’re very necessary in the scheme of things. The number of introduced cats, otoh, is out of kilter. Register and desex unless a registered breeder

      • Gezza

         /  27th July 2017

        As a mallard drake swam across the stream to my side this morning, I noticed an 8 inch long lump of tree branch moving downstream with him. Then I realised (didn’t have me specs on) that lump of tree branch was actually under its own power & was heading West, beating the duck to the bank.

        I remember thinking I hope that cat that thought it could take on 3 pukekos the other day is still around, & that it has better luck with that huge bloody rat!

        • Getting rid of a great proportion if cats would be a boon to the Rat/Mice extermination industry. My old Moggy died recently at 20, but I’m reluctant to replace her on avianatarian grounds. My inner city garden has beautiful bird life. The other day four big fat kereru flew in to a small tree near my dining room. I could have touched them. We also get a lot of our smaller native birds waxeyes and the sweet wee riroriro. (Grey warbler).

          • Gezza

             /  27th July 2017

            Ok. I got pukekos (3 – 1F, 2M – right now they’re insatiable & Bluebelle sometimes has just had ebloodynuf) a flotilla of mallards & grey ducks & hybrids, tuis, two yellowhammers this morning, a tree full of dunnocks (hedge sparrows, the smaller, lighter coloured species) at waterbird feeding time – so now they also get a handful of wheat in the fence-mounted flower box, grey warblers, goldfinches, fantails, (tiwaka) including a black one, thrushes & blackbirds for my country, starlings, black shags & pied shags (rare), welcome swallows, black-backed gulls, very infrequently, a kingfisher, and at night one or two moreporks (ruru) in occasional proximity, heard close by but not seen. Plus some night-flyer whose overhead shrieks I haven’t identified to a species yet. If I go up into the hills I get harriers & paradise ducks.

  1. Cats —or, Infrastructure spending, Council debt, and Disenfranchisement of Ratepayers | What if? Dunedin...

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