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Public To Have Say On Trees

Members of the public will be asked to give their opinions about tree protection under a proposed change to Auckland City’s District Plan.

The council wants to remove the General Tree Protection control from the District Plan and in the process save $550,000 per year in administration costs. This is what it costs the council to grant resource consents so that residents can cut down or prune trees.

Last year 95 per cent of all resource consents were approved and just over 100 applications were turned down.

Deputy Mayor David Hay said the current tree policy was “a nonsense” and the council had been forcing people to break the law. One of the ideas behind the new plan was to encourage people to plant more trees in the “right places” without impacting on “private property rights.”

Councillor Hay said under the new plan the council would, in fact, be planting more trees than there would be trees cut down.

He says that because of the savings, the council will be able to include in its annual budget $100,000 each year for a tree plan which will see trees planted “in the appropriate places.”

“We’ll be saving time in bureaucratic costs and planting more trees – this will be our gift to future generations.”

Community boards will also be encouraged to commit $10,000 each year to plant specimen trees in public places.

Councillor Hay says the first step in changing the rules for general tree protection will mean changing the district plan. This will require the council notifying any proposed change and ensures the public will have a right to be heard “fairly and independently.”


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