Local Piha News, Events, Projects and Community Information for Members
Council Environmental Plans – Latest Statement
In June the governing body made decisions on Auckland Council’s budget which has seen the introduction of a Natural Environment Targeted Rate. This targeted rate sets aside an additional $311 million investment in the natural environment over the next ten years.
We heard your feedback
Public consultation ran from 28 February – 28 March 2018. Feedback was received across three broad feedback channels – written, in-person and digital. A summary of the feedback provided can be found here (Page 10 specifies the feedback provided on the Natural Environment Targeted Rate).
We are grateful for the time and consideration you put into your feedback. The political decision to proceed with a targeted rate is a direct result of that feedback and your ability to engage your wider networks and encourage their feedback. Your passion for the natural environment came through in the consultation process.
We would like to publically extend particular thanks to representatives from Department of Conservation, Toimata Foundation (supporting the Enviroschools programme), Gecko, North West Wildlink and Awhitu Landcare who took the time to present to the Finance and Performance Committee supporting increased investment.
Everyone’s contribution gave our elected members the confidence to vote yes for the targeted rate and associated expanded spend in the natural environment.
What this means
The targeted rate represents an approximately 400% increase in the current budget for natural environment outcomes. The bulk of the funding (around 85%) is allocated to keeping kauri healthy, improving pest control practices on our parks and supporting expanded community, landowner, household and school action towards Pest Free Auckland. Additional smaller increases of funding are allocated to our marine, island and freshwater biosecurity programs plus creating more effective spatial bio-data and community relationship management systems.
Council work on kauri dieback, park pest control and supporting external pest-free Auckland action is delivered across multiple departments in council. As such the targeted rate funded programmes provide a fantastic opportunity for council to more effectively collaborate across departments.
In summary, the key outcomes to be achieved through the targeted rates are:
Protecting parks with high value native ecosystems from pests
Protecting healthy kauri and reducing the risk of further kauri dieback disease spread
Expanding community, household and school action towards pest-free Auckland
Improving data management capability to better inform decision-making
Understanding and restoring our native seabird habitats
Expanding some of our region-wide mainland pest control programmes for animals (including possums, rats, stoats, deer, goats and rabbits) and plants
Protecting our harbours, Hauraki Gulf Islands and high priority freshwater lakes from pests;
The elected members and Aucklanders asked for clear transparent reporting on actions and results funded directly through the targeted rates for both the natural environment and water quality, and we share this goal. We are currently working to specify the content and design of these reports.
A few of the projects that are underway have been highlighted on the Council website here.
Based on your feedback we know that your interest is predominantly in how we are managing kauri dieback and in Council support for expanded community, landowner, household and school activity to achieve Pest Free Auckland.
For kauri dieback disease we are working across our regional and local parks to protect currently healthy kauri and minimise the risk of further disease spread by upgrading track infrastructure and installing effective hygiene stations. At the same time we are working alongside community groups to expand awareness of the problem and the actions needed to minimize spread. We are also working with the national kauri dieback programme on treatment options for over 1,000 prioritised kauri, conducting surveillance and monitoring, and working with industry to minimise risk of spread.
To expand community, landowner, household and school action to achieve Pest Free Auckland we will be undertaking co-design processes with external stakeholders (including community group and central government representatives) to:
better link-up and coordinate conservation efforts across the region
provide funding platforms including streamlined access
use council’s buying power to reduce the cost of action for our communities
develop and digitise technical guides and other resources
develop and implement a regional action plan for sustainability education with a focus on Pest Free Auckland.
From here on we will be providing regular bi-monthly Pest Free Auckland updates including information on the expanded work programmes, the outcomes being achieved and opportunities to be involved in the co-design of how council best amplifies and supports existing community, household, landowner and schools action.
If you would like to stay updated please sign up to the Pest Free Auckland newsletter here.
Ngā mihi maioha,
Gael Ogilvie General Manager Environmental Services