CAT owners in Omaui can celebrate as they are allowed to keep their pets.
A well-debated and criticised proposal for a site-led programme at the Southland seaside community was excluded from the Southland Regional Pest Management Plan.
Environment Southland informed there would be no new rules put in place restricting ownership of domestic cats or goats in the area.
Chairman Nicol Horrell said the council listened to the concerns of the cat owners.
“Predator-free is really important but we realise cats are pretty close to the hearts of a lot of people and we just want to treat them as it should be.”
Mr Horrell said he was surprised the cat issue had international repercussions but he was proud of the way the panel had dealt with it.
Biosecurity and biodiversity operations manager Ali Meade said it was clear the Omaui community recognised and were willing to protect the values of the area.
“The community really want to look after this piece of paradise and we understand that part of the proposal was not quite right for them. We are still very keen to keep working with the community.”
While the site-led programme did not have the support of the Omaui community, Stewart Island had the green light for it. This meant all domestic cats on the island must be desexed and microchipped.
The plan also included specific rules relating to other plants and animal pests.
Ms Meade said she was “excited” the project was going ahead.
“It will provide real benefits for the island and we will provide a lot of support on the projects that are happening over there.”
The proposed plan also focused on species which were not found in Southland.
Ms Meade said they wanted to avoid undesirable species from establishing populations in the area. “We want to stop them getting into Southland… It is much easier to prevent them getting in than deal with it when it’s here.”
The proposed plan was released for public consultation, along with the draft Biosecurity Strategy, in August 2018.