Despite voting against park closure, Auckland Council determined to halt kauri dieback

Auckland Council says it's committed to stopping the spread of Kauri dieback in the Waitakere Ranges despite voting against fully closing the park.

As part of its plan to fight the disease, the council's using a chopper to fly gravel into at-risk tracks. Source: 1 NEWS

The west coast bushland is now the most heavily infected part of the country, with affected areas almost doubling in five years.

Councillor Penny Hulse says it’s heart-breaking to see so many Kauri taken down by the malevolent disease, so the council has ramped up its efforts to stop the spread.

"We've closed 13 tracks and were working on the closure over the next few days of another 22," Hulse says.

A chopper has also been flying 100 tonnes of fresh gravel into two tracks to cover muddy sections so that foot traffic won’t pick up the disease and spread it.

"We’re putting gravel in those places and improving the actual surface for those tracks so they remain hard and dry,"” says regional parks manager Rachel Kelleher.

The council’s currently spending $500,000 a year on fighting kauri dieback, but it’s proposing increasing that to $10 million a year in its 10-year budget.

But many in the local community say the council should have closed the entire ranges.

Iwi have placed a rahui or a ban on the land, but Hulse says it’s not easy keeping people out.

"The ability to simply close the ranges is a complex , difficult and unenforceable thing to do."

The Waitakere Protection Society disagrees. Its chair, John Edgar, says the community is supporting the rahui and telling everyone to stay out of the ranges

“We're going to lead on this. Te Kawerau Maki placed the rahui. We are supporting the rahui. we're going to lead and hopefully the council and government will follow.”

Visitors 1 NEWS spoke to say they’d be willing to stay out of the tracks to save the kauri.

The council says it will consult with iwi and the community about any further track closures.