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Consultation open on proposed earthworks rules for kauri dieback management

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Our Council is now taking feedback on proposed new rules to manage earthworks near kauri trees in urban zones of our district, in order to help prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.

The proposed rules would require people carrying out earthworks within a ‘kauri hygiene zone’ to obtain resource consent.

A kauri tree’s ‘hygiene zone’ is the area covered by its root system and is three times the radius of the tree’s canopy.

Earthworks within a kauri hygiene zone are already a restricted discretionary activity in the Rural, Rural Lifestyle and Conservation zones of our Council’s Proposed District Plan due to an Environment Court decision earlier this year following an appeal to the Proposed District Plan lodged by the Department of Conservation (DOC).

This decision and the new rules mean that earthworks within a kauri hygiene zone require a Kauri Dieback Disease Risk Management Plan to be prepared, approved by our Council and implemented.

The Environment Court also directed our Council to consult with the community on similar rules to the urban zones of our district, which were not included in the DOC appeal. This is what we are now taking submissions on.

The consultation closes at 5pm on 24 January 2020.

Outside a kauri tree’s hygiene zone earthworks can be a permitted activity if standards are complied with and no resource consent or Kauri Dieback Risk Management Plan is required.

The management plan requirements are comprehensive and ensure that any soil and organic matter from the earthworks are safely contained.

Go to our website at tcdc.govt.nz/s293kauridieback to read the details of the proposed new earthworks rules for our urban zones and to make a submission online. Or, on the same page you can download a PDF submission form and return that to us.

To help explain the proposed rules we’re also holding drop-in workshops around the district and in neighbouring areas.

Consultation workshops:

The workshops will run from 3pm-6pm. Hamilton and Tauranga workshops will be from 3pm-5pm

Whitianga - 28 November 2019, Whitianga Area office - 10 Monk Street Whitianga

Coromandel - 2 December 2019, Coromandel Area office - 355 Kapanga Road Coromandel

Thames - 4 December 2019, Council Chambers - 515 Mackay Street Thames

Hamilton - 11 December 2019, Beca offices, Level 2, Waitomo House, 6 Garden Place, Hamilton

Tauranga - 13 December 2019, Beca offices, 32 Harrington Street, Tauranga

Auckland - 16 December 2019 Brookfields Lawyers offices, Level 9, Tower One 205 Queen Street, Auckland

Marae Consultation Workshops

Matai Whetu Marae - 9 December 2019, 12 Ngati Maru Highway, Kopu

Harataunga Marae - 17 December 2019, 1254 Kennedy Bay Road, Kennedy Bay

What is kauri dieback?

Kauri dieback is a fungus-like disease that infects kauri trees of all ages and has killed thousands of kauri in the last 15 years. It is specific to New Zealand kauri.

It lives in the soil and infects kauri roots, damaging the tissues that carry nutrients and water within the tree, effectively starving it to death.

There’s currently no proven cure or treatment and nearly all infected kauri die.

The disease is easily spread through soil movements, eg when soil is carried on dirty footwear, animals, equipment and vehicles.

It is present in several sites on the Coromandel, including DOC's Hukarahi Conservation Area, just north of Whitianga township, and on a DOC-managed land near Whenuakite; and at multiple locations on private land within the Whangapoua catchment.

Check the DOC website to find out more about kauri dieback and track closures and changes: doc.govt.nz.

Our Council is part of the Coromandel Kauri Dieback Forum. The Forum is a community-based and community-led group established to help fight the disease locally by providing advocacy and educational workshops to both industry groups and the general public. Anyone who has an interest in protecting kauri in the region can participate, either as part of a group or as an individual.

We have set up kauri dieback hygiene stations to clean footwear and other equipment at some track entrances which lead to kauri groves on Council reserves. We've also built boardwalks on tracks near kauri trees so their roots are protected.

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