Update 16 March 2023:
See our latest blog post on how to help save your natural environment and help ecological restoration groups like Pest Free Kaipātiki survive - https://www.pfk.org.nz/post/sing-out-for-your-local-environment
Dramatic impacts are likely ahead for our local environment. Aucklanders now have the chance to give feedback on Mayor Wayne Brown's proposed budget and chosen cuts that will significantly negatively affect the natural environment and community groups.
Significant cuts have been proposed for the Water Quality Targeted Rate and Natural Environment Targeted Rate, which enable much of the community's environmental support. In addition, local board community funding (implications can be read here) and council environmental contracts are currently on the chopping block unless you give feedback asking for these to be protected.
The public consultation runs until 28 March, and then councillors will consider the feedback and make final decisions. The budget comes into effect on 1 July. The consultation information can be found at akhaveyoursay.nz/budget.
We don't believe local environmental action for biodiversity, biosecurity, and the volunteering programmes in our parks are 'nice to haves'. Pest plant control, restoration planting, retention of forests, protection and stability of streams, education of the next generation, and community connections are critical. We do this to preserve our natural heritage, wildlife, commitment to Te Ao Māori and the natural world, our communities, and the benefits we receive from being out in nature, both physical and to our mental well-being. These initiatives also help counter the effects of intensification in our city and mitigate the impact of extreme weather events as we have seen recently. We need more protection of natural systems that protect against erosion and flooding. Thus, we do not agree with the proposal to significantly cut operational spending in the Environmental Targeted Rates or reduce local board funding for Locally Driven Initiatives (LDI's). We believe there are other ways to balance the budget without so significantly impacting negatively on our environment and community initiatives that give so much more back to Kaipātiki.
PFK will, in the next week, be putting forward some summary points and suggestions of what our team believes can make the most significant impact and it will form the basis of our own submission. It's imperative that if you value the Kaipātiki local environment, the investment the KLB and council have already made in this space, our parks, green spaces, and the PFK vision and network as a whole - that you make your own individual submission as well. Every submission counts, both on what you disagree with as well as the propositions you do agree with. The annual budget 2023 - 2024 consultation document will provide you with the necessary information. Please keep an eye out for some suggestions and keywording coming via a PFK email over the next week if you are in line with our vision and are interested in the contents of our own submission.