Auckland Council compliance officers were out in force over the weekend, patrolling 'hot spots' across the region, watching for people breaking the rules around the use of closed tracks and putting kauri at risk.
Fifteen people were given trespass notices for flouting the rules, up from seven at Easter weekend, and could now be banned from the park they were in and could face fines if caught there again. A further 20 potential offenders were spoken to and warned.
“Issuing trespass notices is not an option we take lightly. There are serious consequences for breaching a trespass order; we don’t want that; all we’re wanting is for people to do the right thing,” says Steve Pearce, Auckland Council’s Regulatory Compliance Manager.
Repeat offenders can face penalties of up to $20,000.
Since stepping-up compliance efforts six months ago, 49 trespass notices have been issued.
“Thankfully, 99 per cent of visitors to our local and regional parks are doing the right thing.
“They’re helping limit the spread of kauri dieback by scrubbing boots and equipment, staying on open tracks and in the Waitākere Ranges, respecting the rāhui.”
“What we have found though is of the one per cent not playing by the rules, 95 per cent of the offenders have been locals who live adjacent to the parks where tracks are closed, he adds.
“It’s disappointing; these people live in the area and understand the risks. They’ve climbed barriers and ignored signs to access closed areas – and that’s not on.
With summer on the horizon, don’t be surprised if you run into one of our compliance officers out and about in the parks, especially if you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be!