Auckland Council has been successful in securing $1.9m over two years from the DOC administered Jobs for Nature Fund to support kauri dieback work in the region.
It’s been more than three years since the forested areas of the Waitākere Ranges closed to the public to contain the spread of kauri dieback disease and allow a re-evaluation of the tracks within the park.
Since then, 26 tracks covering 40kms have re-opened in the Waitākere Ranges alone, along with work being carried out on tracks in kauri areas in other regional and local parks throughout the region.
Recent storm events, however, have caused damage to many tracks which has meant four of the reopened tracks have had to temporarily close; this represents around eight kilometres of track network. Karamatura Loop (partially closed), Karamatura camp access, Ahuahu and Winstone tracks all require repairs while Whatipu Road is closed due to slips. Subject to lockdown levels, some tracks will be a relatively quick fix, others will take longer.
Mayor Phil Goff says, “Our Natural Environment Targeted Rate has already enabled significant investment to enhance our natural environment and protect native species including kauri, and we have extended this rate in our recent 10-year Budget to allow further work to be carried out,” he said.
“I welcome this extra funding from the government, which will be a shot in the arm for Council’s kauri dieback protection work and support increased employment opportunities for Aucklanders.”
The funding will enable an accelerated kauri protection programme to open more recreational opportunities across Auckland while maintaining and creating 12 full-time employment opportunities over a two-year period.
“It’s fantastic to see this increased investment on top of our already record investment in protecting kauri,” says Environment and Climate Change Committee Chair, Councillor Richard Hills.
“Auckland Council backs the Jobs for Nature Programme as it provides diverse job and training opportunities in areas that also achieve our goals of protecting our natural environment and reducing the impacts of climate change.”
The project will be led by Auckland Council and supported by Te Kawerau ā Maki.
The funding will target work in the west and south of the region where communities most in need are based. It will also provide contractors with a secure pipeline of work over that period which was impacted when planned works were deferred due to COVID-19 impacts on the council budget.
General Manager Environmental Services, Rachel Kelleher says, “This funding won’t replace but rather complement our current kauri protection programme funded by the Natural Environment Targeted Rate.
“It will allow us to bring some track projects forward and do more improvement work across both local and regional tracks
For more information on Jobs for Nature, click here.
Read the Government release on this story here.