Kauri dieback: Auckland Council to close Waitākere forest
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.
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).
Auckland 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.”
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.
Waitākere Ranges Local Board Chair Greg Presland presented the board’s views at the meeting and welcomed the committee’s decision. 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.