The local board wants Auckland Council to defer its decision-making on weed control methods alongside roads until the public can be fully consulted.
Council is reviewing the methods used around Auckland with the aim of standardising its approach (HM September 2). One option that is raising concerns is continued use of the weedkiller glyphosate, which was named “a probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organisation five years ago.
Cr John Watson suspects that the aim of the review is to “lock in the use of glyphosate for the long term, while eliminating innovation and the use of alternatives”.
He says this flies in the face of Council’s own weed control policy, which has the main objective of reducing agrichemicals.
“This policy was adopted in 2013 but has been largely ignored on the grounds of cost,” Cr Watson says.
Last month the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board quizzed Council’s principal environmental specialist, Jenny Gargiulo, at its business meeting, asking for detailed costs of each method, so they can compare. Members were told indicative costs only are available until a decision on preferred methods has been made.
Ms Gargiulo also told the board that contractors have a key performance indicator related to reducing chemicals.
The local board’s recommendations to Council included that the review, and final decision, be deferred until next year when Council produces its Long Term Plan, so the public can be consulted.
Since Hibiscus Matters’ September 2 story, members of the public have contacted local board members, with their concerns, which include inadequate consultation.
A deferral would also allow a trial of Foam Steam methods to be concluded. In this regard Ms Gargiulo told members that expelling foam into stormwater is not permitted. Naturally, anything sprayed on roadsides ends up in stormwater – including glyphosate.
Local board members want to retain the current approach – where each local board sets its own weed policy – rather than standardising weed control methods for Auckland.
All local board feedback will be collated into a report, which goes to the Environment and Climate Change Committee on November 12 for a decision.