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Court ruling prunes tree cutter $2500


7 October 2003

Court ruling prunes tree cutter $2500

Auckland City successfully prosecuted a private property owner for destroying a 14-meter Himalayan Cedar after resource consent to remove it was refused.

The court fined the defendant $2500 in September after they pleaded guilty to breaching the District Plan rule that no person shall cut, damage, alter, injure or destroy exotic trees over 8m in height or with a girth greater than 800mm.

“We are pleased with the result, this sends a clear message to anyone who decides to ignore council regulations and destroy trees vital to the city’s environment,” says Warren Adler, Auckland City Environments.

The tree was cut down to a 4-meter stump in October 2002 after resource consent to do so was declined in December 2000.

“The resource consent process was completely undermined in this case. This process is in place to manage the natural and physical resources of New Zealand’s environment and is enforced to protect them for everyone,” said Mr Adler.

The tree was causing no adverse effect to the property owner, was healthy, of good form and contributed significantly to the visual amenity of the local streetscape. The property owner employed a person who was not skilled or qualified to do the work. Both factors contributed to the penalty.

“The penalty is modest in the scale of environmental fines, but this was a single tree destroyed by a resident. Developers gaining a commercial benefit from removing trees would expect more significant fines,” said Mr Adler.


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