Auckland Council votes to close Waitākere tracks

Auckland Council has voted through a plan to close tracks in the Waitākere and Hunua Ranges.
Auckland Council has voted through a plan to close tracks in the Waitākere and Hunua Ranges. Photo credit: Newshub.

Auckland Council has voted through a plan to close forested areas of two regional parks in a bid to halt the spread of kauri dieback.

The public will be banned from entering large swathes of the Waitākere Ranges and parts of the Hunua Ranges from May 1.

While 91 tracks will be closed in the Waitākere Ranges, 44 will remain open as they are considered to meet requirements of a Controlled Area Notice.

Committee chair and Waitākere ward councillor Penny Hulse says that about a quarter of the 250km of tracks in the Ranges will remain open, including coastal tracks not in forested areas.

Ten tracks will be closed in the Hunua Ranges pending upgrades.

In February, the Environment and Community Committee voted unanimously in favour of the closure proposal, subject to an engagement process.

Concerned Waitākere residents have said the full closure of the ranges can't come soon enough, as people continue to flout the rāhui placed by local iwi last year.

Kauri dieback disease, which can be spread by walkers, has affected about 20 percent of trees in the forest.

There were three options for closure but the consultation was on a proposal recommended by council officers to close the forested areas, with rolling openings as tracks are upgraded.

The council closed 44 high-risk tracks in the Waitākeres in December.

Newshub.