April marked two years since compliance monitoring began to support Auckland Council’s response to kauri dieback disease.
And in that time there has been a downward trend in non-compliance from those wandering and hiking the closed tracks, particularly in the Waitākere Ranges, and at other local and regional parks.
“Improved rates of compliance show that Aucklanders have understood the need for the rāhui and track closures to protect our native taonga, our kauri,” says Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, Councillor Richard Hills.
“Preserving our kauri and our native forests and reserves for future generations is a responsibility for us all, and we understand how tough this has been for those who love our parks and native bush. A huge thank you Aucklanders for your efforts and support over the last two years as we have continued to make the upgrades to safely open our tracks again.”
While it’s not quite a 'gold star' performance from Aucklanders, the 'silver star' status awarded leaves room for improvement.
In the last 24 months to the end of April 2021, Auckland Council’s compliance team issued:
- 139 Trespass Notices
- 91 Bylaw Breach Notices
- 168 Warning Notices
- 55 CAN Compliance Orders
- 2 prosecutions were taken to court where both offenders have been found guilty and one fined $5700 plus court costs in a precedent-setting case.
In excess of 25,500 hours has been committed to combatting the spread of kauri dieback in the past 24-months.
Adrian Wilson, Auckland Council’s Proactive Compliance Manager says, “There is nothing better than having a presence at 'hot spots'. It is invaluable in educating those who might be contemplating an 'off-track experience. Video surveillance has also been pivotal in extending the reach of our operations and acting as a deterrent.”
The Waitākere Ranges were most affected by non-compliance. Two of the highest-trafficked areas pre-closure, Fairy Falls and Incline Track, saw a 47 per cent and 86 per cent reduction respectively over the two years.
Over the same period, enforcement action fell in both the Trespass Notice (64 to 53) and Warning Notice (97 to 60) categories.
In total, there were 57 fewer offences in Year-2 than Year-1 (116 and 173 respectively) representing a 33 per cent decrease in non-compliance across the greater Waitākere Ranges area. Non-compliance in local parks remains low.
Overall, there has been a 30 per cent decrease in non-compliance over the two years.