Kauri dieback in the Waitakeres is a national problem, not just an Auckland one

Auckland Councillors have the opportunity on Tuesday to vote to save the region’s kauri forests, the Council should not have to do this alone and needs more support from central government, says Forest & Bird.

Auckland Council’s Environment and Community Committee meets on Tuesday 5 December to decide what the council will do to stop the spread of kauri dieback disease in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park.

Forest & Bird Regional Manager for Auckland, Nick Beveridge, says the conservation organisation urges Auckland Council to support the rāhui and impose a total closure of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park.

“Kauri is a keystone species in the park, and in all kauri forests, and if they die many other species will also disappear. The Council's own science shows that people are the main cause of the disease spreading (Auckland Council monitoring report).

“Once the park is closed to people, essential upgrades can then take place such as upgrading tracks to keep people away from kauri roots and improving cleaning stations so that people cannot ignore them on their way to tracks. These upgrades should not just be the responsibility of Auckland Council. This should be a national multi-agency response from the government with the resources to back it up.

“The closure will be temporary until upgrades are made and the quicker this can happen, the quicker parts of the park can re-open; but without them, we’ll lose kauri in the Waitakere ranges forever,” says Mr Beveridge.

“It is not just the future of kauri forests in the Waitakere Ranges that are at risk here. This is a risk to all the forests of Auckland and indeed the country, as visitors to our parks this summer tramp the disease throughout kaurilands – from Northland to Waikato.”

“The government needs to see the situation in the Waitakere Ranges as a national problem and step in to help.”