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'Vic-Tree’ Hailed By Queen St Tree Campaigners

Wednesday January 11, 2006

‘Vic-Tree’ Hailed By Queen St Tree Campaigners

Save Auckland Trees campaigners are overjoyed they have achieved a partial ‘slam-dunk’ with Auckland City Council today announcing it is surrendering its resource consents for the removal of healthy exotic trees in Queen Street, following an admission that its own resource consent process was faulty.

In seeking resource consents for the trees’ removal Auckland City Council delegated the decision to Commissioners – in one case two, and in the other three – but referred the material to – and got the decision from – only one commissioner, says the lawyer acting for Save Auckland Trees campaigners, Matthew Casey.

“The work to be done on the trees was going to be different to what the consents allowed and so would have required a variation to the consents, which must in any event be processed in the same way as a new consent application.

“The Council has accepted that the consents were not validly granted because of the delegation issue.”

Save Auckland Trees campaign leader Lesley Max says the group is delighted with today’s development. “It effectively means that we have won the issue raised in our second cause of proposed Court action to save the trees.

“However, our trees are not out of the woods yet. It still leaves open the crucial first cause of Court action about Council as local authority under the Local Government Act 2002 not complying with its obligation to consider the views and preferences of those who might be affected by the decision to remove the trees and replace them with Nikaus and Cabbage Trees.

“This was principally based on the evidence that the public documents – on the basis of which Council sought input from the general public – did not identify the intention to remove the trees. If anything it indicated that there would be more trees.

“That decision is being revisited at Auckland City Council’s extraordinary meeting next Tuesday afternoon, 17 January, at which representatives of our group will be present.”

ENDS


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