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Tree Alert

Posted 13 years, 5 months ago    0 comments

Attached are some messages about the Government's action to remove councils' right to include general tree protection rules in district plans.

Clause 52 of the RMA amendment inserts a specific clause relating to district rules not to provide for the protection of trees or groups of trees in an urban environment unless listed identified in a district plan schedule.

Auckland councils' have had more district plan general urban tree protection provisions than those councils' in the Waikato Region. If the current legislation is passed as is Hamilton City people will not have the opportunity to consider such provision when the next district plan review commences in 2010. (The NZ Arboricultural Assn submission is attached for more info)

ACTION IS NEEDED NOW - IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO START WRITING NOW (if you haven't already!) and please pass this on to others who might be also be interested

It is expected that the government will put this Bill through the final parliamentary process as soon as possible - possibly starting on Thursday 27th August, with the critical final voting stage possibly on the 8th or 9th September (there is a week's recess in between).

We urgently need people to write letters NOW to MPs and to their local newspapers to help influence the final decision. There is also talkback radio.

The Labour Party and the Greens already oppose this Clause, so it is best to target National (in particular), Maori and United Party MPs. If you live in an electorate with a National MP, please write directly to them, voicing your concerns, saying you are a constituent.

Our local MPs emails are:


Here are some points you could include (a couple more added from earlier Alert):
* government ignored large proportion of submitters who objected to this Clause

* Options are available from the NZ Arboricultural Association that will save time, money and the environment without removing general urban tree protection (see below** for a broad outline as conveyed to MPs at the Select Committee stage, but were ignored)

* once law, developers will be able to clear fell a site and not have to replace any lost trees through replanting

* many trees will be cut down as soon as it becomes law

* with development pressure so great in the Auckland region, there will be increasing number of sites with little or no tree cover for shade, screening or visual amenity - any trees planted will be of a size that will take decades to provide such functions

* listing, or scheduling, of trees in the District Plan, as the only permissible means of protecting trees, is costly, time consuming and very limited

* listing, or scheduling, will potentially involve more cost and council staff time than administration of current tree protection rules

* the well recognised and diverse functions and values of trees, clearly identify trees as being of community value, and need to be taken into account as well as that of an individual property right

* NZ risks losing its international clean green image that it has worked hard to promote and could negatively affect tourism.
You can also look at The Tree Council's pages for more comprehensive ideas.

**(from the NZ Arboricultural Association) Improvements to the existing system (i.e. not prohibiting general urban tree protection) include:-
* Lifting the permitted baseline (requirement for a resource consent) and allowing a higher level of activities – like pruning – to go ahead without the need for a consent (based on additional criteria, for example, utilising ‘approved contractor’ provisions or similar),
* Allowing a greater level of delegation, so that the appropriate council officers can sign off on the majority of consents, therefore reducing the level of staff involvement,
* Allowing on-site, instant, carbonated or electronic decisions,
* Standardising some of the rules (i.e. the “super city” concept),
* Increased efficiency through a review of the internal council processes and administration procedures.




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