Auckland’s regional parks will continue to be owned and managed by Auckland Council on behalf of the people of Auckland and there are no plans to change this.
The draft Regional Parks Management Plan is out for public consultation over the next three weeks and Aucklanders are encouraged to read and submit on it.
Councillor Alf Filipaina, Chair of the council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee, says Auckland’s regional parks are staying right where they are, under the guardianship of the council and for the benefit of all Aucklanders, now and into the future.
“Our regional parks are highly sought after, protected pieces of land that give Aucklanders access to natural areas, open spaces, kilometres of coastline, significant ecological areas and historic cultural sites.
“More than half a century has gone into building, growing and protecting our regional parks network and we have no plans to undo this. Rather, we’re proposing recognition of the adjacent landscapes and biodiversity to enable collaborative and holistic planning and management for current and future generations.
“The draft Regional Parks Management Plan safeguards Aucklanders’ access to the 41,000 hectares of Auckland’s 28 regional parks and proposes how Auckland Council will continue to manage the regional parks for the next decade.
“I encourage Aucklanders to submit their feedback on the protection, management and development of our regional parks. The draft Plan protects free access for everyone and proposes to make the parks more welcoming for our diverse communities. It proposes a response to climate change and protection of our precious biodiversity and cultural heritage.
“It also proposes that the council continues to build meaningful partnerships with mana whenua, according to the principles of Te Tiriti.
“It opens the door to more collaborations with volunteers, philanthropists and corporates to help deliver the goals of the plan.
“Check out the draft plan and tell us what initiatives you support or oppose, whether it’s biodiversity initiatives, recreation opportunities, or the ability to walk, cycle or take public transport to your parks.”
Auckland Council General Manager Regional Service Planning, Investment and Partnerships, Justine Haves says recent commentary that ownership of regional parks would be transferred to the Hauraki Gulf Forum are inaccurate.
“I’d like to reassure Aucklanders that the draft plan does not contain any intention to transfer the administration and governance of parks to any other party.
“The draft Regional Parks Management Plan proposes a process to ‘investigate formally including regional parks that contribute to the coastal area of the Gulf into the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park’.
“The proposal is a gesture of collaboration with the Marine Park and enables consideration of an alignment with the purposes of the Marine Park Act, including the recognition of the historic, traditional, cultural and spiritual relationship of tangata whenua.
“If this policy is approved in the final plan, taking this step would not impact on the ownership, governance or management of the regional parks. This is because the Forum is purely an advisory body.
“The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000 sets up the Forum as an advisory body and there are no changes under discussion that would allow it to take on a governance or management role.”
Councillor Pippa Coom, Co-Chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum, says the Forum is independently looking at opportunities to improve environmental outcomes for the Hauraki Gulf.
“Forum members are reviewing our 22-year-old Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act with a view to providing advice to Ministers on how parts of the Marine Park Act could be updated or strengthened. This includes consideration of the composition of the Forum and how best to give effect to the Forum’s commitment to a Treaty partnership model.
“Our Act is clear that inclusion of public land in the Marine Park has no impact on ownership or management of that land, and the Forum is not advocating to change that.”
The 12-week consultation period on the draft Regional Parks Management Plan closes on Friday 4 March 2022. Hearings will be held in May 2022.
You can view the draft plan and online feedback form at https://akhaveyoursay.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/regional-parks-management-plan
Alternatively, submissions can be emailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org