Detailed below are links to reports, policies and documents arising from the development and implementation of Auckland’s weed management policies from the 1990s to the present. Some of these contribute an historic background to the development of those policies, while current reports and submissions from WMA members to the development and implementation of the latest Weed Management Policy provide a detailed picture of the issues and challenges.
These reports are in chronological order with the most recent here:
Submission to Auckland Council’s Draft Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) 2018 – WMA March 2018. Submission proposing an amendement to expand on the current entry regarding Council’s Weed Management Policy (WMP) to clearly detail the vision and objectives of the WMP and how they apply to the management of weeds and particularly pest plants under the RPMP.
Submission to Auckland Council’s Long Term Plan 2050 and 10 year Budget 2018 – WMA March 2018. Submission outlining concern and disappointment that health and wellbeing has not been incorporated as a strategic theme in the LTP. With no ‘anchoring’ objective, vital policies, plans and programmes have become ‘homeless’. This includes the exclusion of Council’s Weed Management Policy. Action required is to incorporate the vision and objectives into the LTP, noting that the Policy vision so clearly aligns with the focus and direction of the Auckland Plan 2050 that its inclusion will enhance not detract.
Review of an Auckland Transport commissioned Literature Review in 2015 on the impacts on human health arising from their use of glyphosate – WMA 18 August 2017. A critical opinion by Dr Meriel Watts on a document only just obtained under OIA. The Literature Review by Dr Bebleman has been used for over two years by Auckland Transport to justify their continued use of this chemical in public spaces. Bebelman’s report and conclusion that the “use of glyphosate … poses no unacceptable risk to humans” is soundly and comprehensively dismissed by Dr Watts. See Bebleman Report here.
Please Act this is a Public Health Concern. Letter to Auckland Council Mayor Goff requesting permission to address the Governing Body – WMA 13 August 2017. The WMA plead with the Mayor to get an urgent strategy underway to transition the city to nonchemical weed management. The denial of speaking rights to raise this issue is of critical concern.
History and Timeline of Auckland’s use of chemicals for weed management and vegetation control 1986-2017 – WMA 26 July 2017 Not a scientific report, but rather a detective story that links all the actions and inactions that have brought Auckland to the crisis it faces today. A crisis in its entrenched use of chemical herbicides versus thousands of Aucklanders past and present who fought for – and twice succeeded – in establishing nonchemical treatments on their streets and parks. Today that is all at risk. By utilising a timeline, history is captured in brief snapshots which reveal not only a narrative of relentless and unbelievable cynicism and bureaucratic manipulations but the rich history of persistence and determination of the people to protect their families and the environment.
WMA comment and report for Ellerslie Toxins Awareness Group and Michael Park School regarding weed and vegetation management policy in Ellerslie, Auckland – WMA 7 April 2017. The comment is in response to an Auckland Council Memo to Orakei Local Board which says there is no evidence or proof of adoption of the 30 year old no herbicide use policy on Ellerslie roads. Detailed rebuttal by WMA of all points.
Public Forum Address by the WMA to the Environment and Community Committee – WMA 14 February 2017 on the appointments to Auckland Council’s weed management Political Advisory Group (PAG). Detailed request for a new forum style PAG that is not a political group, but a governance group as originally envisaged, and that is open to the public. Concerns also raised about the unbalanced composition of the group as proposed, with reduced numbers and no members from the previous group. Video links to the presentation and debate provided.
WMA update to all Local Board Members and Auckland Councillors on weed management and vegetation control policy and why it is not being implemented – WMA 10 December 2016. The WMA details the inaccurate and misleading information recently provided to all members, and emphasises that operational changes are being implemented now without any oversight, consultation or agreement with any Local Board or Council Committee, let alone the public.
Presentation to the Regional Development & Operations Committee on the proposed weed management policy review – WMA 1 September 2016. Detailed concerns are raised and recommendations laid out to ensure full public involvement and participation in all aspects of the review and process, and the implementation of the precautionary principle while the review is being undertaken with an immediate moratorium on all use of glyphosate in public places.
Auckland Council – Scope of the Weed Management Policy Review – 1 Sept 2016. Auckland Council’s detailed proposal for the review of the Weed Management Policy and its implementation as requested by Mayor Brown at the Regional Strategy and Policy Committee 7 July 2016. It recommends approval in line with the findings of the December 2015 Operational Review which identifies key areas for “improvement”.
Auckland Council’s Weed Management Operational Review and Summary of Proposed changes – December 2015 A completely new operational review which apparently replaces the original which was agreed by committee in 2013, but was never presented for consultation. This ‘final’ review reveals recommendations that herbicide (i.e. glyphosate) is used for all parks and reserves edging and road corridor kerb and channel operations across the region.
Detailed response to Chief Operating Officer, Dean Kimpton’s memo to all Councillors and Local Board members on the release of the WMA Report into the Current State of Auckland’s Chemical Spray Regime. We strongly refute Kimpton’s assertions, misleading statements and the continued denial that Council and Auckland Transport are not subverting Council’s Weed Management Policy as well as legacy practices of weed and vegetation control.
The WMA report raises the alarm over the exponential growth in the use of glyphosate across Auckland. Documents released under the Official Information Act reveal the details of the covert spraying of glyphosate by Auckland Transport contractors that is taking place in all the non-chemical vegetation control areas across the city. Serious questions are raised about why the public is being kept in the dark, and who has sanctioned the overturning of twenty years of chemical-free practice. The WMA demand an urgent public investigation and audit and renew their call to ban the use of glyphosate in all public spaces.
These documents were supplied by Auckland Council/Auckland Transport under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA) on 14 August 2015 in response to a WMA request of 30 June 2015 seeking information about weed management cost comparisons that had informed budget decisions by Auckland Council in May 2015. Further information was supplied on 18 December 2015 in response to follow up questions arising from the Auckland Transport document Draft Use of Agrichemicals in the Road Corridor.
Letter to the Board of Auckland Transport in reply to AT’s response to WMA’s submission in December 2014 of their Human Rights Impact Assessment of the vegetation control programme in Auckland. Report before the August 2015 Board Meeting recommends endorsing the continued use of glyphosate to control vegetation in the road corridor. The WMA strongly rejects this recommendation and details the reasons why. To read Auckland Transport’s Report and recommendation go to:
Unpublished briefing paper for Auckland Council’s Budget Committee. Provides background information to support Long-Term Plan discussions on weed management methodologies in local parks, especially in maintaining grass edges. Controversial because it recommends expanding chemical treatment in parks across the region – contrary to its own 2013 Weed Management Policy, and in spite of overwhelming opposition in LTP submissions.
Written submission rejecting the LTP budget proposal for the greater use of sprays in all parks. Five reasons detailed: the proposal is in direct contravention of its own Policy, there is no evidence the use of chemicals will save money, people have made it clear they do not want chemicals, there is overwhelming scientific evidence of the adverse human health and environmental effects of glyphosate the most commonly used chemical and the human rights of vulnerable citizens are being violated.
Comprehensive response to the HRIA detailing the background and concerns, and the reasons why the Weed Management Advisory (WMA) saw the commissioning of the Report as the only action remaining to break through the prevailing indifference. The response confirms there are a significant number of international human rights norms of concern that are relevant and applicable. Concludes that Auckland Transport (and Auckland Council) has an abiding and fundamental duty to keep people safe and protect their health and wellbeing, and calls on them to action the HRIA recommendations with no further delay.
Read the HRIA here
Address to Auckland Transport – September 2014 – WMA 8 Sept 2014 Written presentation to the Board of Auckland Transport requesting that all roadside vegetation control throughout the Auckland Region is by non-chemical means. Independent scientific evidence linking the chemical glyphosate to adverse effects on human health and the environment is detailed as grounds for the change.
Report and documentation of the 2013-2014 breach of the non-chemical weed and vegetation control spraying conditions on Waiheke Island. – WMA March 2014 Waiheke Island has enjoyed non-chemical management of its roadside vegetation and weeds since the early 1990s. The report documents the complaints, investigation and outcome of this first breach of the non-chemical policy by Auckland Transport contractors shortly after they take over management of the island’s roads.
Address to the Waiheke Local Board on Auckland Transport’s response to their breach of the non-chemical spray policy on the island. – WMA 27 Feb 2014. Address detailing the inadequate response from Auckland Transport in their tabled report on the use of chemicals on the island roads, and the additional breach of their own specifications. It seeks written assurances about ongoing policy and back-up documentation for the Board.
Auckland Council’s first Draft Weed Management Operational Review – August 2013 The Review is part of the development of Auckland Council’s new weed management policy and provides an audit of the current approaches to weed and vegetation management undertaken by Council and its Council Controlled Organisations (Auckland Transport etc). It provides recommendations for operational change that will lead to a policy implementation plan.
Address to the Environment & Sustainability Forum on Auckland Council’s tabled Operational Review. – WMA 20 August 2013. Comprehensive address detailing issues and concerns with the review, in particular value judgements and bias in favour of agrichemical use which is inconsistent with the weed management policy only just adopted by Auckland Council. It also raises serious issues with the costings provided by Auckland Transport (AT) and the ramifications of a lack of co-operation and commitment by AT.
Auckland Council’s Weed Management Policy – 2013 Auckland Council’s comprehensive policy for the management of weeds and vegetation control which recognises that agrichemicals can be harmful to human health and the environment. The vision of the policy is “working together to reduce the adverse effects of weeds and their management on people and the environment”.
Petition address to the Regional Development and Operations Committee RDOC – WMA 15 August 2013. Presentation of a petition asking Council (and Auckland Transport) to confirm the retention of non-chemical weed management in legacy cities and its adoption in the rest of the region. Summary of the background situation and concerns that led to the Toxins Awareness Groups and residents having to use this tool again as a means to being heard. Support requested for the adoption of the new Weed Management Policy later that morning.
Address to the Regional Development & Operations Committee RDOC on adoption of the Weed Management Policy. – WMA 15 August 2013 Final address to Council before the adoption of the policy, outlining the importance of the considerations for human health and the environment around exposure to agrichemicals. Asks Council for support to ensure that the region will move forward with the rest of the world in replacing agrichemicals in weed and vegetation control with non-chemical alternatives.
Submission in public forum to Parks, Recreation & Heritage Committee – WMA 9 July 2013 Oral presentation to committee asking for important amendments to the Weed Management Policy around before it is passed to final committee for adoption. Details the rationale around ‘harmonising’ the eight objectives and the need to both minimise and avoid agrichemical use.
Oral submission to the Environment & Sustainability Forum on the revised scope for Auckland Council’s Weed Management Policy. – WMA 16 October 2012 Request and recommendation that clarification and amendment be made to the revised scope to ensure that input from, and consultation with, stakeholders and community is maintained across the ‘twin streams’ of the policy development process – the WMP and the Operational Review. Concerns expressed around transparency of costings.
Submission to Parks & Recreation Forum on the development of the Weed Management Policy. WMA 14 August 2012. Oral submission supporting the development of the Weed Management Policy and the proposed scope of consultation with the public and Local Boards. Details WMPs proposed approach and the principles of an international best practice standard.
Presentation in public forum to the Environment and Sustainability Forum – WMA 29 May 2012. Submission raising concerns about the responsibilities for roadside weed management having been delegated to Auckland Transport and the lack of clarity over policy. Recommendations urgent discussions with Auckland Transport.
Submission to Auckland Council’s Long Term Plan LTP – 2012-2022 combined with information and reference material. WMA – March 2012 Comprehensive submission detailing the need for an integrated region-wide weed and pest management strategy that ensures community health and wellbeing and ecological and environmental sustainability. Includes a detailed policy proposal that could be incorporated into the LTP with little further development by officers.
Auckland City Legacy Weed Management Policy – Original and Unabridged (130pp). Approved and adopted 1999. In 1997, as a result of adverse community reaction to a recommendation to discontinue non-herbicide roadside weed management, the City resolved that a comprehensive investigation into weed management be undertaken. The Committee further resolved that a strategic policy be developed from the information gathered throughout the investigation process. This policy, which covers all land administered by the legacy Auckland City including the Hauraki Gulf Islands, is the result
Brief History of Auckland City Weed Management Policy – Extracts from: Watts, M. 2000. Ethical Pesticide Policy: Beyond Risk Assessment. A fascinating outline of the history of how Auckland City went from the use of chemical roadside sprays to its present non-chemical status. Drawing on Faye Storer’s documentation of the development of the city’s weed management policy it confirms the ability of people and communities to successfully institute positive change.
Extracts from the legacy Auckland City Weed Management Policy – developed 1997 Details the City’s statement of policy whose general goal was … To ensure that Auckland City meets its legal and community obligations for weed management on land it administers, in a manner that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. Its approach is as valid today as when it was written.