Action for Tree Protection in Urban Areas

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Clause 52 of the Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Bill 2009, banning general tree protection in urban areas.

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. It is really important to target National electorate MPs, in particular Nikki Kaye (Auckland Central); Paula Bennett  (Waitakere), and Sam Lotu-Iiga (Maungakiekie) as they are most vulnerable, with slim majorities.

PLEASE ASK THEM TO REMOVE CLAUSE 52 OR SUPPORT AMENDMENTS TO IMPROVE THE EXISTING TREE PROTECTION SYSTEM.

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 Œapproved contractor¹ 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 ³super city²
    concept),
  • Increased efficiency through a review of the internal council processes and administration procedures.

Here is a more comprehensive list of Auckland MPs than was sent in the earlier Alert:

Auckland MPs:- (you can cut and paste whole list)
Nikki.kaye@parliament.govt.nz; paula.bennett@parliament.govt.nz;
sam.lotu-iiga@parliament.govt.nz;
Jonathan.coleman@parliament.govt.nz;
Murray.McCully@parliament.govt.nz; Rodney.hide@parliament.govt.nz

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