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Kauri forest to close on 1 May

Decision Digest | Environment and Community Committee

Published: 10 April 2018

The forested areas of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, and more high risk tracks in Hunua Ranges kauri areas, will close on 1 May to protect kauri from dieback disease. 

Committee chair and Waitākere ward councillor Penny Hulse lead the almost-five hour decision which focusses on preventing the spread of kauri dieback disease from the Waitākere Ranges and offers greater protection to the Hunua Ranges, which currently shows no sign of infection. 

“Today, we have taken bold action. The closure of the Waitākere Ranges forest will provide the highest level of protection to kauri, to ensure that future generations can experience and enjoy this precious taonga,” she says. 

Read more about this decision on OurAuckland

The following is a digest of all decisions made at today’s Environment and Community Committee. The agenda is available on Auckland Council’s website and minutes will be added once confirmed. This meeting was also webcast on the council’s website and items are available on demand.  

Items 1-8 were administrative items except for Public Input (Item 5) and Local Board Input (Item 6). 

Item 5: Public input was received on Kauri Dieback Management (Item 9) from Dr Mels Barton, The Tree Council; Edward Ashby, Executive Manager, Te Kawerau a Maki; Roger Williams, Warkworth Forest & Bird; Paul Davies, Waitakere Ranges user; Pip Mandis, Awesome Walks and Cam Bowden, AWOL Adventures.   

Public input was also received on the Weed Management Update (Information item 13) from both Hanna Blackmore who presented to the committee, and Sarah Smuts-Kennedy.  Public input 5.1 was withdrawn. 

Item 6: Local Board input on Item 9 was received from the Kaipatiki Local Board and the Waitākere Ranges Local Board. 

Item 9: Kauri Dieback Management Report Back and Decisions 

Read more on: OurAuckland 

Item 10: Next Steps for Safeswim programme 

Auckland Council’s Safeswim programme was upgraded last year, with the aim of improving the water quality information available to Aucklanders. 

The update introduced a predictive modelling approach that provides real-time water quality forecasts for 92 beaches and freshwater sites across the Auckland region. This was a change from the weekly monitoring system that was previously used. 

Since its launch in November 2017, the new Safeswim website has had 280,000 website visits, with 141,000 unique users. Safeswim recently completed its first summer of implementation, today the committee was updated on the progress that has been made in the programme and were asked to endorse the next steps for further programme development and the future direction of the programme. 

The future direction for Safeswim, unanimously endorsed by the committee today, incorporates lessons learnt from the first season and incorporates recommendations from the post-implementation evaluation, these recommendations include implementing a behaviour change campaign, refining the signage and communications strategy and increasing the number of Safeswim sites during the peak swimming season. 

Item 11: Review of Citizens Advice Bureaux Services (supplementary report) 

At the February committee meeting, staff reported findings of a recent review of Citizen Advice Bureau services in Auckland and the funding model that supports it. While no resolution was passed at the February meeting, the committee instructed staff to continue discussing current and potential funding models with the Auckland Citizens Advice Bureaux Incorporated (ACABx). 

This additional discussion resulted in staff recommending to today’s committee that the current funding model be extended in its current format for the 2018/19 financial year. The extension enables council to work further with ACABx to review the current population-based funding model and to continue investigations of potential alternative funding models to achieve a more equitable distribution of funding. 

The committee approved negotiation of a three-year funding agreement 2018-2021 with ACABx conditional on a review of the population-based funding model, improved reporting and access to consistent data, meeting requirements of a local relationship framework and finalising a new strategic relationship. 

Item 12: Auckland Council submission on the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Renewal of Licences) Amendment Bill (No 2) 

Staff sought approval for a submission on the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Renewal of Licences) Amendment Bill (No 2), to the Governance Administration Select Committee.

Highlights of the submission include:

  • Alcohol-related harm and its reduction being a focus in Auckland
  • Council’s existing local alcohol policy that is not yet in force
  • Support for the principle behind the Bill and Paper
  • Acknowledgment of differing community and business concerns relating to the impact of the Bill
  • Concern about unintended consequences and the practical effect of the Bill
  • Issues in the local alcohol policy and the need to review the Act.

The committee unanimously approved council’s submission to the Governance Administration Committee on the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Renewal of Licences) Amendment Bill (No 2) and approved Deputy Mayor, and Councillor Filipaina as an alternate, and an IMSB member to appear before the Governance Administration Select Committee on behalf of Auckland Council.