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Restorative Justice Tree Planting Sentence

Restorative Justice Tree Planting Sentence

A Manurewa man is planting native trees in his neighbourhood reserve as part of a sentence for work on a protected totara tree without resource consent.

The prosecution followed damage to the mature totara tree after work by contractors within the drip line of the tree that did not have resource consent.

This work, combined with an earlier chainsaw attack that Mr Hewes was not involved with, weakened the tree to a point that arborists concluded it should be removed because it would ultimately die.

The sentence is the result of a restorative justice conference held between Manukau City Council and Daniel Hewes to deal with the offence.

It is the first time the restorative justice system has been used in Manukau to deal with a Resource Management Act issue. The only other known case in New Zealand was taken by Auckland City Council earlier this year following a pohutukawa tree being cut down in Onehunga.

The conference resulted in Mr Hewes agreeing to plant native trees worth $2000 in the reserve near Tuakura Way and Totara Park. About 20 to 25 native trees are likely to be planted.

He will also make a public apology in the Manukau Courier and pay for 12 advertising features in the same newspaper aimed at educating the public about the protection of trees and the resource consent requirements for trees.

Manurewa councillor Peter Kelly, who attended the conference, says it achieved a very good outcome.

“It allowed us to get some environmental benefits and also the chance to educate the public, which is not something a standard court case would allow.

“Instead of just a large fine paid to the council the Manurewa community has a number of new native trees. Puriri, totara and rimu trees have already been planted in a nearby reserve and Totara Park.”

The Environment Court also ordered Mr Hewes to pay the council $5000 for its costs.

The tree was 13.8m high with a canopy of 10.7m. It was believed to be at least 30 years old.


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