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Tree protection issue strikes chord with public

Media release

1 September 2009

Tree protection issue strikes chord with public

A public meeting held today in response to the tree protection aspect of the Resource Management Simplifying and Streamlining Amendment (RMA) Bill has been hailed a success by organisers.

The New Zealand Arboricultural Association (NZAA) Inc., The Tree Council (Inc) and Greenscene Limited (the country’s largest specialist arboricultural consultancy) were joined by Dr Russel Norman, Co-Leader, Green Party, David Cunliffe, MP, Labour Party, David Shearer, MP, Labour Party, and more than 200 members of the public to discuss Clause 52 of the Amendment Bill and its potential ramifications.

Clause 52 states that, in urban environments, only trees or groups of trees that are identified in a plan, in a reserve protected by the Reserves Act, or subject to a conservation management plan or strategy are protected under the Act – that means many trees, currently under the protection of the RMA, would lose that protection should the Amendment Bill proceed unchanged into legislation.

After discussing various options, the overriding view of attendees was to urge the Government to delete Clause 52 and review tree protection rules and the administering of all consenting processes at a local authority level.

Lisa Sanderson, NZAA Vice President says this position and the implementation of modifications already recommended to the Government in the Select Committee Hearings would streamline the process without legislative intervention. 

“We appreciate that some of the existing rules and resource consent processes as they currently stand can be costly and cumbersome; however we believe Clause 52 goes too far.  Over time, this clause would downgrade the quality of our urban environment and have negative economic and environmental impacts. 

“This meeting was an opportunity for the public to better understand this important issue and have their say.  We urge the Government to heed these views – New Zealanders want an effective level of protection for trees and valuable vegetation and there are options available to ensure both tree protection and commonsense decisions are achieved.”

Meeting organisers plan to continue raising awareness of the issue through a number of channels.

Further details are available at www.thetreecouncil.org.nz and www.nzarbor.org.nz

Ends

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