New Zealand Labour Party

Bill proposes protection for heritage trees

A study showing Auckland has scant protection for its heritage trees and its limited remaining bush coverage highlights the need for a law change, says Labour’s Auckland Issues Spokesperson, Phil Goff.

“The study reinforces public concerns in March about the proposed felling of a centuries old Kauri tree in Titirangi, with Council granting a non-notified consent for its destruction. 

“Changes to the Resource Management Act in 2009 and 2013 went too far, leaving most trees in the city without protection.

“I’m now working with local groups to find a constructive solution that is better than the pre-2009 blanket protection of trees and the post-2009 RMA amendments which took away almost all protections.

“The Member’s Bill I am drafting will restrict the felling of designated species of indigenous trees which are mature and healthy and an important part of our urban environment.

“No one wants to stop people trimming or removing shrubs in their own backyard but trees which are important aspects of our environmental heritage do deserve protection against wanton destruction.

“The present law which requires each individual tree to be located and designated in order to be protected hasn’t worked and won’t work because it is costly and bureaucratic.

“My Bill aims to better balance protection and development.

“The new study ‘Vanishing Nature’ shows that Auckland compared to most other cities has retained only a fraction of its urban forest with huge negative implications for the environment, bird life and the quality of urban life.

“The amendment I am proposing to the Resource Management Act is critical to redressing the lack of balance and damage resulting from recent ill-considered legislative changes”, Phil Goff said.