Tree hackers' punishment applauded
17 July 2006 - Wellington
Forest & Bird media release for immediate use
Tree hackers’ punishment applauded
Forest & Bird has applauded a judge for handing down a hefty fine against property developers who chopped down a mature kowhai in central Wellington.
OEC, owned by John and Michael Chow, ordered the hacking of branches off a protected 70-year-old kowhai tree in Tory Street last December. Today they were fined $14,000, ordered to replace the attacked tree, maintain it for five years and install a plaque at the foot of the new tree.
Forest & Bird Lower North Island Field Officer James Griffiths said the punishment handed down by Judge Gordon Whiting in Wellington District Court was an encouraging sign that the courts recognised the importance of mature native trees in the city centre.
“Trees are a valuable part of our natural heritage, and are particularly valued by the public in urban areas where native vegetation enhances and beautifies our city streets,” James Griffiths says.
Forest & Bird also appreciated the efforts of members of the public, who alerted authorities when the tree was chainsawed, and the actions of Wellington City Council in prosecuting OEC under the Resource Management Act.
“Their actions will send a message to environmental vandals that they won’t get off scot-free if they destroy treasured heritage trees,” James Griffiths says.