Need 2 Know: Waitakere Ranges forests now closed

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The forested ar­eas of the Waitākere Ranges Re­gional Park will be closed from 1 May to pre­vent the spread of, and pro­tect against, kauri dieback dis­ease.

The de­ci­sion was made on 10 April by Auck­land Coun­cil’s En­vi­ron­ment and Com­mu­nity Com­mit­tee.

“The man­age­ment of kauri dieback dis­ease has been one of the most com­plex and chal­leng­ing is­sues that Auck­land Coun­cil has been faced with,” says Coun­cil­lor Penny Hulse, who chairs the com­mit­tee. “To­day, we have taken bold ac­tion. The clo­sure of the Waitākere Ranges for­est will pro­vide the high­est level of pro­tec­tion to kauri, to en­sure that fu­ture gen­er­a­tions can ex­pe­ri­ence and en­joy this pre­cious taonga.” Some ex­cep­tions to Waitākere clo­sures

Ex­cep­tions to the clo­sure will in­clude beaches, pas­ture­lands and a lim­ited num­ber of tracks with track sur­face con­di­tions to a stan­dard that will sup­port the re­quire­ments of the pro­posed Con­trolled Area No­tice. Th­ese ex­cep­tions will be jointly agreed on with Te Kaw­erau ā Maki.

“We thank Te Kaw­erau ā Maki for the col­lab­o­ra­tive work they have un­der­taken with the coun­cil on this ex­ceed­ingly com­plex is­sue, and the com­mu­nity for their feed­back and en­gage­ment that has con­trib­uted to the fi­nal de­ci­sion be­ing made to­day,” says Cr Hulse. High-risk tracks in Hunua Ranges to close

The coun­cil also agreed to close fur­ther higher-risk tracks in the Hunua Ranges Re­gional Park. Th­ese mea­sures aim to pre­vent the in­tro­duc­tion of the dis­ease into the park, where it has not yet been de­tected. Con­trolled Area No­tices un­der de­vel­op­ment

Auck­land Coun­cil has been work­ing with the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI) on Con­trolled Area No­tices (CANs) for the Waitākere and Hunua ranges.

Un­der the ar­range­ments be­ing de­vel­oped, open ar­eas in the Waitākere and Hunua forests will be­come Con­trolled Ar­eas un­der the Biose­cu­rity Act, and any­one us­ing them will need to com­ply with the in­struc­tions at clean­ing sta­tions and park en­trances. A CAN comes with en­force­ment tools, in­clud­ing pros­e­cu­tion, if peo­ple fail to com­ply.

Com­pli­ance with th­ese CANs will be en­forced by Auck­land Coun­cil, while MPI will mon­i­tor the CANs’ im­ple­men­ta­tion, in­clud­ing peo­ple’s use of hy­giene sta­tions. Work on track clo­sure to be­gin soon

Auck­land Coun­cil staff will now be­gin to de­com­mis­sion tracks, re­move sig­nage and be­gin the process of re­strict­ing ac­cess to the Waitākere Ranges Re­gional Park.

Staff will work to pri­ori­tise ini­tial track up­grades and im­prove­ments in the Waitākere Ranges Re­gional Park to re-es­tab­lish coastal con­nec­tiv­ity and multi-day walk­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, as sug­gested dur­ing the pub­lic en­gage­ment process, to mit­i­gate the im­pact on park users and op­er­a­tors.

Find out more about the op­tions for track clo­sures con­sid­ered by the coun­cil.

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