The message to Aucklanders to take more care of their kauri forests appears to be hitting the mark.
This summer has seen non-compliant behaviour trending down across the region.
Over the 9-day peak holiday break (26 Dec-3 Jan) there was a steep reduction in the number of people breaching the closed track rules. Last summer 14 people trespassed over the period, this holiday season, just two.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the news is encouraging.
“Auckland Council has worked hard to protect our iconic kauri trees and to make tracks safe for reopening,” he says.
“It’s great to see that people are following the rules and sticking to the open tracks. This is one of the best ways Aucklanders can help protect this important native species for future generations, so please—keep up the good work.”
For the entire 2019-20 summer, 22 trespasses and 18 warning notices were issued; for the 2020-21 summer, only 6 trespass and 7 warning notices have been written so far.
|9-day Peak26 Dec-3 Jan||Trespasses||Warnings|
Environment and Community Committee Chair Councillor Richard Hills says, “I know how hard it has been for our community to lose access to so many tracks but it’s great to see people playing by the rules and protecting our native taonga.
“It’s also exciting seeing the amazing work our parks team and contractors have done to reopen tracks, and I know we are all looking forward to more openings over the next few years.”
More targeted compliance work, a track works-programme and an enforcement presence have all contributed to a heightened awareness and willingness to do the right thing.
“The parks were busy as expected this summer and everyone, bar a few, were behaving as they should. It’s fair to say the message is getting through,” says Jesse Hindt of the Proactive Compliance team.
“This year, our presence has been far less overt, so this result is even more surprising and pleasing.
“The only disappointing aspect is of those offenders we did find breaching the open track rules, particularly in the Waitākere Ranges, they were predominantly locals, living within a few kilometres of the offence location.”
In the wider Auckland area, a closed border, and lock-down measures over the last year has meant more Aucklanders stayed closer to home when out walking which resulted in more offending taking place in local parks rather than further afield in regional parks.
Auckland Council’s Natural Environment Targeted Rate, introduced in 2018, will raise $311 million over a 10 year period to help protect our natural environment and tackle the pests, weeds and diseases that threaten our native species, including kauri.