Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Waitākere forest closure proposed

Waitākere forest closure proposed
20 February 2018

Auckland Council has decided to close the forested area of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park.

At the 20 February meeting of the Environment and Community Committee, the council proposed to close the forested areas of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, with some exceptions, by 1 May 2018.

Mayor Phil Goff spoke of the impact this decision will have on future generations.

“I regard this as one of the most important issues that we will be confronting as a council – the potential extinction of an iconic species.

“The current approach that council is taking is not working, for a variety of reasons, chief of which is the acceptance of Aucklanders. This decision sends a much stronger message that leaves no room for confusion,” he says.

Committee chair and Waitākere ward councillor Penny Hulse says this is an important step towards greater protection of kauri across the region and provides the highest level of kauri protection for the Waitākere Ranges.

“We have worked tirelessly since our decision last December to close more tracks and investigate greater protection measures. Today’s decision to close the Waitākere Ranges forest is the result.

“We applaud the passion of those out there campaigning for kauri protection and commend those visitors that have chosen to observe closures or stay away from the ranges – but we’ve decided it just isn’t enough.

“We believe this decision will benefit kauri across the Auckland region and we’re committed to working with all those impacted to make closure work.

“It is also vitally important that visitors to kaurilands also do their bit – don’t duck behind a barrier or walk around a footwear cleaning station – the future of kauri in New Zealand sits with all of us,” she says.

Waitākere Ranges Local Board Chair Greg Presland presented the board’s views at the meeting and welcomed the committee’s decision.

“We’re pleased that the council has unanimously decided to support strong action to protect kauri but this is not the end of the issue – we’re going to have to keep working on it together,” he says.

The exceptions would be beaches, pasturelands and areas which would reach the requirement of a controlled area notice (expected to be introduced by the Ministry for Primary Industries).

“We will engage with mana whenua Te Kawerau a Maki on the proposed closure area and exceptions; consult with the Waitākere Ranges Local Board; and work with concessionaires, businesses, recreational groups and residents to limit the impact closure might have on them,” says Cr Penny Hulse.

The 20 February decision to close the entire forested area also includes:

the potential for some tracks to remain open where visitors could meet the standards required by a controlled area notice
an exception for beaches and pasturelands
no closure of essential service access or prevention of authorised management activity
the final decision will be made at the April 2018 Environment and Community Committee Meeting.
The committee also proposed closing further high-risk tracks in the Hunua Ranges Regional Park by 1 May 2018, subject to consultation with mana whenua and the Franklin Local Board.

What is a controlled area notice?
Implemented by the Ministry for Primary Industries under the Biosecurity Act
Cannot be used to close the park or specific tracks – it can only be used to control the movement of at-risk material into and out of a designated area (in this case soil)
Would give more enforcement options for closed tracks
Would still apply on open tracks
Would require people to enter and exit the park with no visible soil on their footwear or equipment
Would make using hygiene stations where present mandatory.
Since December 2017 the council has:
Closed 44 tracks
Upgraded six tracks (15km; 200 tonnes gravel)
Improved hygiene stations
Increased its ambassador programme, speaking to 30,000 visitors over two months
Monitoring use of both open and closed tracks.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Crowdsale And Crowdfunding Campaign: Help Create The Future Of Independent News

Two weeks to go! The Scoop 3.0 plan aims to create NZ’s first community-owned, distributed news and media intelligence ecosystem in 2019. We believe this ScoopPro media monetisation approach can be scaled and spread globally to support local and independent news efforts in regional New Zealand and around the world.

Scoop is an ecosystem, it would not exist without those who contribute to it, read it and rely on it for professional media purposes. Generous past support from this ecosystem has enabled us to come this far in developing our business model. Support our PledgeMe Campaign>>


14/11: Two Years’ Progress Since The Kaikoura Earthquake

Mayor John Leggett said it was a day for reflection, but also a time to recognise the work by many people to support progress towards recovery made across Marlborough since November 2016. More>>


Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little. More>>


Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>


Two Years Since Kaikoura: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>


Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>


Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>


"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>





InfoPages News Channels