While it could be safe to guess that the Department of Conservation would own the most land in the Auckland region, this is surprisingly not the case. Auckland Council owns and maintains over 50,000ha in the region.
New Zealand’s largest city faces a risk of extinction of its seabirds, extensive Kauri dieback and polluted waterways.
Penny Hulse from the Auckland Council told Rural Exchange that educating Aucklanders on their responsibility to the environment is a top priority for the Council.
“You can’t get away from the fact that we are a big city with an exceedingly fragile environment on our perimeters,” she said.
Though Aucklanders can be critical of the Councils initiatives, Ms Hulse said, they understand of the clean-up that needs to be done.
But there is more work to be done, the Councillor explained.
“We need to up-skill Aucklanders and inform them enough of what their responsibilities are.”
She said that Auckland Council is partially to blame, saying that they've “been a bit negligent”.
Auckland Council’s proposed 10-year budget includes two new targeted rates aimed at improving water quality and combatting Kauri dieback.
The budget would see a big boost to infrastructure spending, from $7.9 billion to over $11 billion for the next decade, with the interim transport levy replaced by a fuel tax.
But Ms Hulse emphasised that the Council, more importantly, needs to focus on getting locals to understand their “intergenerational responsibility” to look after the environment.
Watch the full interview with Penny Hulse above.