The Tūpuna Maunga Authority’s (TMA) decision to remove grazing livestock from Auckland’s most treasured park has created an extreme fire hazard as dry conditions continue and unkempt grass grows wild, MP for Maungakiekie Denise Lee says.
“We have had a very hot summer that broke the record for the city's longest dry spell. These conditions have created a great fire risk on One Tree Hill and the TMA’s decision to remove livestock has compounded the issue by letting the already dry grass grow rampant.
“The TMA has been overly complacent about the risk, and must do more than rely on their firebreaks and evacuation plans. They should be taking proactive steps to address the unintended impacts of their decision.
“Auckland is now under a total fire ban and leaving One Tree Hill’s unkempt grass to grow longer is borderline negligent. One rogue cigarette is all it takes.
“Since the end of last year, we have seen five fires break-out on maunga, including Mt Wellington and Māngere Mountain. I will not sit idle and have local One Tree Hill added to that statistic.
“I’ve been working closely with Cornwall Park Trust, who recently sought advice from Fire and Emergency Service New Zealand and re-instated sheep for grazing in high-risk areas. Unfortunately, other maunga do not have the timely luxury of this option.
“I’m calling on the Tūpuna Maunga Authority to prioritise public safety during extreme dry spells and either re-introduce grazing livestock or increase areas of mowed grass on Auckland’s 11 maunga.
“The “no cattle” policy is burdening our Fire and Emergency staff with clear preventable risk.”