Saturday, May 18, 2024

Regional parks management plan passes with applause

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Duder Regional Park. Photo Wikipedia

By Laura Kvigstad, Auckland Council reporter

Funded by New Zealand on Air

The regional parks management plan passed with full support around the table at Auckland Council.

At the Park, Arts, Community and Events Committee on September 22, members unanimously approved the latest plan to manage Auckland’s 28 regional parks.

Earlier this year, a review on park management proposed moving 21 of the parks into the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. At the same time, the Hauraki Gulf Forum was shifting towards co-governance.

The proposal was swept into a host of discussions around democracy under co-governance.

In the latest management plan, the proposal to shift the 21 parks was removed. The committee report said co-governance was still under active consideration but sat outside of the plan.

Cr John Watson who raised alarm bells earlier in the year over co-governance in the proposal said the regional parks brought Auckland’s diverse communities together.

“I am certainly pleased to see policy 45 has been removed and now that it has been removed perhaps we can release the legal opinion on that,” Watson said.

Cr Linda Cooper said co-governance was a big discussion happening both locally and nationally.

“We talk about (co-governance), that it is somewhere else. It is not actually in a particular place but it is just in the ether at the moment. It is going on nationally… we just felt that was for another time because it was not just about this plan,” Cooper said.

“What I really love about this plan is that we really got to hear what the community felt… You will find bits and pieces that were really important to different parts of our community in this plan.”

She said the plan was about working together with local communities, iwi and the wider Tāmaki Makaurau community.

Independent Māori Statutory Board member Glenn Wilcox said he had spent his summer visiting all 28 regional parks and came away with a unique experience in each.

“From Duder, I got the smell of the karaka. From Wenderholm, I saw the light that freckled through the pōhutukawa. From Te Muri, it was like a step back in time because the tide determines when and where you can go. Finally Awhitu, it was the camp spells and the korero that was going around in the campground that was drifting in the afternoon,” Wilcox said.

“It really brought home to me how much Aucklanders enjoy and need our regional parks.”

He said the regional parks were not just the lungs of Auckland or the place where people play but waterways in the parks gave sustenance to the city.

The management plan is intended to last for ten years before its next comprehensive review under the reserves act.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Local body elections have been held since this story was written

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