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Committee votes for further closure to protect Kauri

At the first Environment and Community Committee meeting of the year today, councillors voted unanimously for the closure of all forested areas within the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park (with exceptions that will be consulted on in the coming weeks), and high-risk tracks in kauri lands of the Hunua Ranges, to increase protection against kauri dieback.

Environment and Community Committee Chair, Penny Hulse, says the approach endorsed today is a necessary, and important step for kauri protection across the region.

“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.

“The 10-year-Budget, opening for consultation next week, proposes a targeted rate that increases kauri dieback investment from $3 million over ten years, to nearly $100 million. This is the opportunity for Aucklanders to provide feedback on this significant increase to protect kauri for our future generations,” says Councillor Hulse.

Read more on this item on: OurAuckland

The following is a digest of decisions made. The agenda is available on Auckland Council’s website and minutes will be added once confirmed. This meeting was also webcast on the council’s website and items are available on demand.

Items 1-8 were administrative items except for Public Input (Item 5) and Local Board Input (Item 6).

Grant Hewison spoke (to item 11), Wendy Gray and Rob Thomas spoke separately (to item 12) Diane Taylor from Auckland Citizens Advice Bureaux and Gary Nicholls from the Auckland Justice of the Peace spoke (to item 10) under Public Input.

Angela Dalton, Chair of the Manurewa Local Board spoke about illegal dumping in Manurewa under Local Board Input.

Item 9: Kauri Dieback Management – report back

As outlined above, closures within the Waitākere and Hunua Ranges were agreed by the committee for consultation, before a final decision will be made at the committee’s April meeting.

The Waitākere Ranges local board also presented to this item.

Read more on: OurAuckland

Item 10: Review of Citizen Advice Bureaux services
After some discussion, it was agreed that this item be put on hold and will be continued at an unspecified time.

The following local board chairs spoke to this item:
- Julia Parfitt (Hibiscus and Bays Local Board)
- Peter Haynes (Albert-Eden Local Board)
- Lemaunga Lydia Sosene (Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board)


Item 11: Low Carbon Auckland: 2018 Review and Update

In 2014, Auckland Council adopted Low Carbon Auckland: Auckland’s Energy Resilience and Low Carbon Action Plan. The plan sets out a 10-year action plan and 30-year pathway to meet the emissions reduction target in the Auckland Plan (40 per cent by 2040).

Alongside this plan, the council, as a member of the C40 Cities, is also committed to developing an adaptation strategy for the region to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

The committee agreed to a full review of the Low Carbon Action Plan, that also incorporates an adaption strategy, to ensure a co-ordinated, strategic approach to climate change.

The establishment of an Independent Advisory Group was also agreed to, which will be tasked with providing on-going guidance and evaluation on the review and update of Low Carbon Auckland.

Item 12: A strategy for Auckland's urban ngahere (forest)

Last September, the committee approved the framework for a strategy for Auckland’s urban ngahere to ensure long term planning for the creation and maintenance of urban trees and vegetation, as Auckland continues to grow, and more pressure is put on the environment.

Today the final strategy was approved, which details 18 high level actions including increasing Auckland’s urban canopy from 15 to 30 percent, increasing resilience to environmental pressures and increasing the survival rate of new plantings.

Staff will report back to the committee on an implementation plan for the strategy, which will include further detail on costs and benefits.

Item 13: Engagement Options for Implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management requires regional councils and unitary authorities to set freshwater objectives and quality and quantity limits. This must be done with consultation with community, and tangata whenua.

The report presented three different options for engagement with stakeholders and it was decided that a standard consultation process will be implemented within existing operational budgets and staff resourcing.

Item 14: Regional Parks Management Plan 2010 – variation to incorporate land at Piha into the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park

78 hectares of land at Piha was purchased by Auckland Council in 2014, as an addition to the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park. This section of land presents the opportunity to complete the missing link in the Hillary Trail between Mercer Bay and Piha.

The committee agreed to the variation to incorporate the land at Piha, into the Regional Parks Management Plan 2010 as part of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park.

Item 15: Corban Reserve Stormwater Upgrade - Compulsory Land Acquisition

The committee received an update on a stormwater pipe that runs through a closed landfill in Corban Reserve, Henderson. The pipe has been identified as posing a significant health and safety risk to the public and council staff.

While the council is managing these risks, a longer-term solution is needed. The preferred option is the construction of a tunnelled pipe along Border Road to Opanuku Stream. For this project to go ahead, land in the area must be acquired. Despite Council’s recent approaches to landowners, no purchase has yet been negotiated.

The delegation of authority for the acquisition of the land was then considered in the confidential section of this meeting.

Item 17: Approach to Meeting National Air Quality Standards

The committee received an update on Auckland’s compliance with National Air Quality Standards.

Since 2013, Auckland has met the national standard, and if this continues until August 2018 it will no longer have the status as a polluted air shed.

Although there are always at some risk of breaching compliance, in the last few years there have been significant improvements, as detailed in the report.

An improved approach to manage compliance was endorsed today, which includes the improvement of council’s communication, monitoring and reporting of air quality issues to Aucklanders.


Item 18: Tākaro - Investing in play: Release of consultation feedback

This item closed the loop on the consultation process for the Tākaro – Investing in playdiscussion document, which was consulted on in May last year.

The public release of the consultation summary report was agreed to by the committee.

Item 19: Summary of Environment and Community Committee information - updates, memos and briefings - 20 February 2018

A debrief presentation on the Tripartite Economic Summit 2017, was presented.

A procedural motion was then passed to allow public excluded consideration of two further items.

Note - Item 16: Fit for Future presentation was deferred to a later date.

ENDS

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