Auckland Council's cat cull plan passes

Auckland Council has decided to adopt its new pest management plan, allowing it to cull cats if they're found in areas where they are banned.

The new pest plan will allow the council to cull any "unowned" cats found in areas where threatened bird, reptile and amphibian species are present.

Council will live trap cats in those areas and check them for a microchip. If one cannot be found and it is not wearing a collar that states the owner's name and address the cat will be classified as unowned.

The council said it will notify communities of upcoming cat control to allow owners the chance to microchip, collar or contain their cats.

Areas that currently have a zero tolerance for cats, for example pest-free offshore islands and fenced sanctuaries, will be retained.

Feeding cats in areas that contain threatened species will also be banned under the plan.

Council Environment and Community Committee chair Penny Hulse said the plan is an important step for protecting biodiversity.

"We know we've under invested in protecting our native ecosystems for decades, which has led to biodiversity in our region declining. If we continue along that path, it's a very real possibility that we'll lose species forever."

The plan had upset cat lovers when it was initially announced in 2017 and Cat Foundation New Zealand chair Anne Batley-Burton labelled it "ridiculous".

 This was reflected in submissions to the plan, 75 percent of submitters were opposed to the cat management measures.