Auckland Council submissions needed – Long Term Plan

Whakaupoko Landcare have provided their submission for the Auckland Council 10 year budget, Long Term Plan:

General Feedback
Re the AC LTP and RPMP we in general fully support the larger spend on the environment and full implementation of the RPMP. Auckland with only 2% of the total land area of NZ and around 1/3rd of the rate payers should be leading the way with funding care of the environment. We have many of New Zealand’s endangered bird species right on our doorstep with both the off shore islands and the Hunua’s/Waitakere’s. The general environment for these species to spread beyond these borders is currently extremely poor.
This is common sense. It is a growing long term trend that people care more about the environment in which they live. With the NZ ‘Pure’ brand and Auckland striving to be the most liveable city in the world it is clear there should be more focus in this area.

Protecting our Environment / Pest Control
Private Land
With the consultation documents it was difficult to establish much clarity on the level of funding that would be committed to private land. This represents 85% of Auckland’s total land area and if the LTP is to be in line with the likes of Predator Free 2050 then private land needs to be incorporated in the plan. It appeared that the main budget for private land would be just focusing on possum control. Again this seems more in line with the old goal of TB Free NZ rather than a focus on enhancing biodiversity. For enhancing biodiversity our experience has shown that at least the animal pests of rats, mustelids and feral cats need to be targeted with appropriate levels of funding.

Working with Communities
There was little reference as to how the plan would connect and fund community groups. We see this as a key priority. To achieve the goals of improving the environment Auckland wide there has to be considerably more behaviour change by all of us. This requires direct influence of communities. Council can provide funding and technical expertise but when it comes to private landowners then community groups are an important part of a collaborative approach as unlike Council they are the ones with credibility among their community. Jan Wright in her final environment report identified the need to have a more coordinated approach across NZ with working with communities.

The collaborative community approach needs to be clearer. It is well documented throughout the world that community groups consistently deliver environmental outcomes and permanent behaviour change at 1/5th – 1/10th of when paid staff or contractors are used. In our own area we have some great examples with landowners who have been regularly carrying out pest control for over 10 years along AC guidelines of pulse baiting 4 times a year. The annual materials cost is less than $5/ha. The biodiversity outcomes are considerable. Despite ongoing pest reinvasion we have bird monitoring data that shows very high kereru and tui counts. In fact we have properties now averaging double what the kereru counts are at Maungatautari Sanctuary which is a completely predator free environment. Our tui counts are the same as Maungatautari. We had bats monitored by AC and the frequency over the 7 week period of monitoring was as high as the highest bat frequency recorded sites in the middle of the Hunua’s where reinvasion issues are much less etc. We have increasing numbers of kaka visiting each year and staying for longer.

Water
We should at least have all beaches where we can safely swim all year around. Other water quality issues are also important to the wellbeing of people and the environment. An example of the current situation in our local area is we have the Whangamaire stream which is one of the longest waterways in Auckland. The nitrate levels consistently average 15mg/L. This may well be the highest of any stream in NZ. It is way beyond the upper national guideline limit of 6.9 and the WHO safe drinking water limit of 11.3. It compares poorly with the Waikato at over 20x more concentration of nitrates where even in the lower reaches at Mercer the level is only .69mg/L. From our own sampling with Waicare the Mauku stream, also one of Auckland’s longest, is not much better with an estimate of 10mg/L. It is not even regularly sampled by AC as one of the key streams of Auckland despite it being in the top 4 longest waterways. Even the proposed higher funding option with the targeted rate for the environment seemed to ignore funding issues in rural water catchments. This needs to be addressed in our opinion.

Franklin Local Board (FLB)
General Franklin represents 24% of the total area of Auckland which is obviously very significant from the potential biodiversity that can be achieved Auckland wide. It includes the Hunua’s that so far remains free from kauri dieback and where the public access is considerably less than in the likes of the Waitakere’s. There is a considerable amount of privately owned farm land and already there are 3 very active, long established Landcare groups with Awhitu Peninsula Landcare, Whakaupoko Landcare and Te Wairoa Catchment. On top of this DOC is about to provide some initiative funding to help establish a collaborative approach incorporating all the Landcare groups. This provides AC with an ideal cost effective community engagement launch pad for the LTP and fully funded RPMP.
Compatability The higher level of support for environment funding and the RPMP is very much in line with what FLB have proposed for 2018/19. This is especially with point 2 ‘Focus on caring for our natural environment …..’ and point 3 ‘Start on the ground delivery of local trails….. We will support local communities and trail trusts to get routes in place and promote their use’.

Submission guidelines to align with Whakaupoko Landcare:

Environment – Auckland Council Long Term Plan Submissions

Please help. Now is the key time to have your say and really have an impact on funding for the environment. Have your say on the Auckland Long Term Plan and Regional Pest Management Plan and you could really change the funding we have available to enhance our environment. Here is a chance to really increase the size of the pie and this is the priority. We can debate the finer detail later. Please pass this on now to friends and family.

We have been in contact with many other groups and people across Auckland with developing what we recommend here. Please take a few minutes to support us and have your say. Ideally today with the deadline being March 28th. There is an enclosed file that provides a bit more detail and that you can include in your submission at the end.

Click on this link for the Long Term Plan.

https://engage.ubiquity.co.nz/surveys/mom8LOQAZkiKnAjVaiCmfQ

Scroll to the bottom and click on Start. (You can view consultation document if you wish)

Fill in your details and include Franklin Local Board. Click on next

Q1 Tick support

Q2 Tick support

Q3 Copy and paste the following in the please tell us why. This is in line with Forest & Bird and what other landcare groups are submitting and has been well discussed.

I DO NOT support options A or B. I support OTHER – I want to protect our forests and communities from invading pests like kauri dieback, predators and weeds, therefore I want full funding for the Regional Pest Management Plan and for our natural environment at an estimated $60/year / average rate payer.

Q4 As you wish. (It is very tempting to put in that by now we should be starting to see some of the economies of scale and efficiencies kicking in with the abolition of the ARC and Council amalgamation but not sure if this may be counterproductive to the Environment spend. Couldn’t get any clear feedback from Council people on this).

Q 5 As you wish

Q6 Tick Franklin

Q7 As you wish

Below Q7 there is a tab where you can ‘Upload New File’. You may have to download the attached file onto your computer before you can upload into here. Alternatively copy the attached file and simply paste into the Q3 ‘Please tell us why space’

Complete the rest as you wish.

Now click on this link for the Regional Pest Management Plan

https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/have-your-say/topics-you-can-have-your-say-on/regional-pest-management-plan/Pages/default.aspx

Click on submit feedback

Scroll to bottom and click on ‘Start’

Answer questions as you wish but to keep it simple you can simply go down to the bottom of Q9 and in the ‘Upload New File’ include the same attached document.

Complete the rest of the survey as requested

If you have any questions you are welcome to call Andrew Sinclair on 021 268 1904.

Above is the general feedback information that is the same content as the attached file. You may wish to copy and paste this in the appropriate boxes in Q2 & 3 if you prefer.

Predator Free Patumahoe – Trap Day

Trap 1Time to get serious with rats.

This Friday May 19th we have a free rat trap and cage pick up afternoon at Patumahoe School from 2.25 – 4.30pm.

If you are able to help hand out traps and talk to people that would be great. You are welcome to come along and pick up 1 or more rat traps yourself. There is also an awesome limited special offer where you can register to purchase a Good Nature A24 rat trap for just $80 including a counter for free. (Normal retail direct from Good Nature $199).

This is immediately after school finishes and has been publicised through the school newsletter and County News. Some of us will be there earlier at 1.00pm helping assemble some of the rat trap cages. If you are able to join us at 1.00 – even better. No carpentry skills needed.

We carried out some bird surveys around the Village with help from Patumahoe School room 9 students. What was great to see is that tui and kereru numbers were way up on similar surveys we carried out 5 – 7 years ago. In the buffer zone around Patumahoe we saw several bait stations and one land owner has in place 24 Good Nature rat traps. It is awesome to see the difference and it will exciting to see what can be achieved with even more predator control.

Any questions call Andrew Sinclair
Mob 021 268 1904