30 November 2018
Environment and Community Committee, Local Board
Members and Independent Māori Statutory Board members
Project Streetscapes – Weed management
Rod Sheridan, General Manager, Community Facilities
To update elected members on changes to weed management contracts in the road corridor, as
part of Project Streetscapes.
• From April 2019, there will be a transfer of services and budget to the council unit
Community Facilities to manage weeds within the road corridor on behalf of Auckland
Transport. Intially Community Facilities will continue with the current Auckland Transport
weed control methodologies.
• After the first year, consultation with local boards will begin as part of a regional review of
vegetation management methodologies within the road corridor.
• The regional review will be informed by data gathered in the first year of the contract. This
will include costings for different methodologies, asset condition and supplier investigations
on the feasibility of new technologies for weed management in the road corridor.
• Community Facilities, Biosecurity and Auckland Transport are working together on
coordinating the implementation of the proposed Regional Pest Plant Management Plan
within the road corridor.
From April 2019, as part of Project Streetscapes (which does not include the Gulf Islands),
vegetation in the road corridor, including street to street walkways, will be managed by
Community Facilities through the Full Facilities contracts. This activity will be completed on
behalf of the council-controlled organisation Auckland Transport, who will retain ownership of all
greenspaces in the road corridor.
Auckland Transport undertakes vegetation management in over 7,452 kilometres of road
corridor. This management achieves the following outcomes:
o Ensuring vegetation growing in the kerb and channel and open water channels does not
interfere with water flow.
o Controlling vegetation within the concrete expansion gaps in footpaths.
o Maintaining the safety of pedestrians and road users by maintaining clear sight lines.
o Maintaining the streetscape in a tidy and aesthetically pleasing condition.
o Preventing root intrusion causing damage to the road surface, kerb and channel,
footpaths and other road assets.
o Complying with the Auckland Regional Pest Management Plant and the Biosecurity Act
1993 to fulfil landowner requirements.
See Attachment A for examples of weeds in the road corridor.
Auckland Transport is a council controlled organisation that has decision-making responsibility
for transport networks and infrastructure and regional spend within the road corridor.
Vegetation management methodologies
6. Current weed control methodologies within the road corridor have been set by Auckland
Transport. Auckland Transport has continued to use the same weed control methods and
herbicides as those used by the legacy councils: Auckland City Council, Manukau City Council,
Waitākere City Council, North Shore City Council, Papakura District Council, Rodney District
Council and most of Franklin District Council.
7. This continuation of legacy arrangements means that there are differences between local board
areas in the methods used to meet weed management outcomes, .e.g. glyphosate, biosafe,
hotwater and steam. In some cases, different methodologies are used within the same local
board boundaries (see summary in Table 1 below). Glyphosate is used to some extent to treat
8. Initially, after transfer of services and budget to Community Facilities, council will continue using
the same methodologies as Auckland Transport to ensure continued achievement of desired
9. Consultation with elected members and Community Facilites suppliers will start after the first year
of the contract as part of a regional review of vegetation management within the road corridor.
10. A working group will be established to put forward options for weed management in the road
corridor. The review will be informed by data gathered in the first year of Community Facilities
managing the contracts. This will allow time for staff to confirm the cost of different methodologies
of weed control, road asset condition and supplier investigation on the feasibility of new
technologies for weed management in the road corridor.
Table 1. Overview of the different weed control methodologies used by Auckland Transport
Mode of action
Kills the entire plant
e.g. formulations of
including its root system.
three to four times
per year to achieve
the desired level of
Plant-based herbicides are
Needs to be applied Albert-Eden,
activated on contact with
the foliage of weeds and
burn off the foliage, thus
times the cost of
preventing or reducing seed glyphosate.1 (based
production and restricting
on data from 2015)
(Glyphosate is used in
some areas and for
Hot water/steam destroys
Needs to be applied Devonport-Takapuna,
the surface foliage of the
more frequently with Hibiscus and Bays,
hotwater or steam
weeds, leaving the roots
primarily untreated as the
temperature of the water
decreases rapidly upon
(Glyphosate is used in
touching the ground.
times the cost of
some areas and for
glyphosate.1 (based some weeds)
on data from 2015)
1 PricewaterhouseCoopers, Weed Management Cost Review, 15 September 2015
11. Community Facilities will be following the eight objectives of the Weed Management Policy (see
Attachment C) for vegetation and pest plant control within the road corridor including:
o Reducing agrichemical use.
Community Facilities suppliers have a contractual Key
Performance Indicator (KPI) to reduce agrichemical use from a baseline established in
the first year(2018/2019). This KPI will be applied for the road corridor.
o Investigating alternative weed control technologies.
As part of continuous
improvement and best practice, Community Facility suppliers are investigating non-
agrichemical weed control methods including hot foam and its potential for the road
o Minimising non-targeted effect of weed control.
The contract specifications do not
permit spraying outside schools, early education centres, or places of public assembly
on days that these institutions are in use. There are limitations on the time of spraying in
urban areas to avoid times when children are walking to and from school.
o Community empowerment and the no-spray register.
From April 2019, council will
take over the management of the no-spray register. This register is maintained for
residents who have requested that no agrichemicals be used directly outside their
properties. A condition of being placed on the no-spray register is that the property
owner maintains the road berm outside their property in a weed-free condition.
Glyphosate use in the road corridor
12. Glyphosate is a low toxicity broad-spectrum non-selective herbicide which is particularly
effective on broadleaf weeds and grasses. Glyphosate is used by most, if not all, Road
Controlling Authorities in New Zealand to control vegetation in the road corridor.
13. The council’s agrichemical use is guided by the New Zealand Environmental Protection Agency,
which has granted approvals for the use of glyphosate-containing substances in accordance
with their code of practice. For all agrichemical use council complies with the Environmental
Protection Agency Code of Practice (NZS 8409:2004 Management of Agrichemicals) for the
storage, mixing, use, disposal and certification of contractors for agrichemicals. In urban and
rural areas if the berm is being maintained by the adjoining property owner and there is no
vegetation overhanging the kerb or footpath then no spraying will be undertaken.
14. Round up, a product containing glyphosate, has recently been in the media. Round up contains
an additive called POEA (Polyethoxylated tallow amine). Recent assessments have identified
that this additive is more toxic than the glyphosate active ingredient.2 Community Facilities will
only be using approved formulations of Glyphosate within the road corridor which do not include
POEA. Therefore, the brand Round up will not be used within the road corridor.
Regional Pest Management Plan
15. In 2019, the new Regional Pest Management Plan will be introduced which will supersede the
existing strategy. The plan will create some additional requirements for pest plant control in the
parts of the road corridor.
16. Biosecurity, Auckland Transport and Community Facilities are working together to confirm the
scope and resourcing requirements for implementation of the new Regional Pest Management
Plan on Auckland Transport land.
Next Steps for Project Streetscapes – Vegetation Management
17. Next steps for this project are outlined below in Table 2.
Table 2. Timing of next steps for management of vegetation in the road corridor
2 Glyhposate: Commercially Available Options. Cathy Bebelman Consulting Ltd.
Community facilities take over weed control in the road corridor April 2019
Review of weed control methodologies
Attachment A – Examples of vegetation in the road corridor
Attachment B – Weed control methodology table
Attachment C - Weed Management Policy