It is going to be another five years at least before local authorities in Hawke’s Bay pay for professional possum hunters to knock back the pest’s population. Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has delayed managing the control programme til 2028 while it focuses on recovery work after Cyclone Gabrielle. Council biosecurity advisor Mark Mitchell says the council is asking landowners to keep down the growing numbers of possums in rural areas in the meantime. Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay chair Bruce Wills says possum numbers are on the rise but nowhere near the “plague-like proportions” seen in previous years and he understands the councils decision.