Keeping region safe from pest plants a team effort, says Greater Wellington

  • Published Date 19 Jul 2021
  • Author Ali Kaye

Dangerous pests Nassella tussock, Chilean needle grass, and Alligator weed have yet to take hold in our region, and Greater Wellington is urging the community to make use of its pest control services to help keep it that way.

Greater Wellington Councillor and Environment Chair Penny Gaylor says keeping these species out of the region is especially important because of the threat they pose to te taiao (the natural environment), and our way of life.

“These species in particular are a priority for us all year round, as they’re able to survive and spread throughout winter. We’re asking people to get familiar with what they look like, and keep an eye out when working or enjoying the outdoors.

“Pest plants can be just as harmful to our environment as pest animals. They can outcompete or smother native plants, dry wetlands and rivers, reduce habitats for native animals, and grow rapidly in waterways.

“Some of these species are also harmful to agricultural land and livestock, affecting grazing land and productivity. They can be moved between farms on vehicles and equipment, so people working outdoors should be particularly vigilant,” says Cr Gaylor.

Under the Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP), Greater Wellington hones in on a hit-list of pest plants dangerous to our region’s environment and primary industries. Species identified under the “Exclusion” control programme are those that do not currently exist in our region. Greater Wellington has a zero tolerance approach to these species and will control these pests at no cost to landowners.

Senior Biosecurity Officer Christie Carswell is part of Greater Wellington’s Pest Plants team who responds to calls from the community about potential sightings.  

“We’re always on the lookout, but we can’t be everywhere at once, so we rely on the community to alert us if they’ve spotted a suspicious plant. We’ll be able to confirm if the plant is indeed a pest, and if it’s Nassella tussock, Chilean needle grass, Alligator weed, or any other plant managed under a control programme in the RPMP, we’ll come over and remove it as well.

“If it turns out the pest is not listed under a control programme in the RPMP, we’ll still be able to give you advice on how you can best control it yourself.  

“We want people to know that their time is never wasted by giving us a call. We follow up on every query or suspected sightings we receive. It’s simply too dangerous to let these plants grow undetected, and it takes all of us working together to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“Thank you to everyone who has contacted us so far, and please keep the calls and emails coming!” says Christie.  

Greater Wellington’s pest plants team can be reached by calling 0800 496 734 or emailing

Updated October 12, 2021 at 4:21 PM

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