Auckland Council’s Environment and Community Committee voted on 5 December to close several high-risk and medium-risk tracks in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park to limit the spread of kauri dieback disease.
Following more than five hours of public and local board input and debate, the committee opted to significantly increase closures and protection measures across the park, and seek further funding through the council’s 10-year Budget.
Committee chair and Waitākere Ward Councillor Penny Hulse says the decision made today delivers a practical balance for the community and the health of the park.
“With the respect of pragmatism, I am supportive of this pathway, as it opens up the opportunity to tackle kauri dieback head on, and move some of the protection work that is currently underway, further along,” says Cr Hulse.
How to help stop kauri dieback disease
In general, you should always:
- Clean all soil off your footwear and other gear, every time you enter or leave a forest/area with native trees, and at every cleaning station.
- Use disinfectant only after you have removed all the soil.
Mayor Phil Goff acknowledged the immediate impact that these targeted closures would have.
“The option that we have chosen today closes high-risk areas within the park, puts our current resources into the maintenance of tracks and is a practical approach that will really make a difference on the ground.
“Together with the consultation options and associated budgets for the long-term plan that we will vote on next week, this strategy allows us to have an increased impact on saving our kauri.
"Aucklanders will also have an opportunity next year to consider what funding from the 10-year Budget they want to allocate to environmental protection including the management of kauri dieback,” says Mayor Goff.
A network of track closures will commence immediately with those detailed in the table below. Officers will then report back to the committee in February 2018, when further options for track improvement and upgrades, public education, enforcement options and effectiveness, effectiveness monitoring, capital and operating costs for consideration in the 10-year Budget 2018-28 will be presented.
Track closures approved 5 December
New temporary closures
Change from temporarily closed to permanently closed
Already closed (continued temporary closure)
East Tunnel Mouth
Hillary Trail Swanson link
Upper Huia Dam
Summit (lower section)
Manchester Unity Block (note – no formal tracks but known usage)
Councillor Hulse recognised the dedication that many people have put into working on this complex and challenging issue.
“It is important to remember that we do all want the same thing, and that is the protection of our native kauri,” says Cr Hulse.