By Greg Presland
I blogged previously about the Resource Management Reform Bill and the threat it poses to Titirangi’s trees. The bill proposes the removal of blanket tree protection and for a Titirangi Tree to be protected it, or a group of trees that it is in, will have to be specifically identified in a schedule to the District Plan. The current tree protection rules would be gone and the fear would be that the day after the rules were removed a chorus of chainsaws would be heard in the valleys of Titirangi and the area would be gradually but fundamentally changed.
On behalf of the Waitakere Ranges Local Board I went to the select committee and made submissions. I pointed out that trees were wonderful things, they were integral to the amenity of Titirangi and they were vital for maintaining stability in an area that is stability sensitive. I suggested that the existing subdivision pattern in the area was predicated on current tree and bush coverage remaining. We fell trees in Titirangi at our or our neighbour’s peril.
I also pointed out that the proposed protection mechanism, the scheduling of trees, would be cumbersome and excessively bureaucratic. A recent scheduling exercise, plan change 41, had protected 188 trees but only after 4 days of hearing, and the hearing and reading of 94 submissions as well as the arboreal examination of each of the trees. My very rough estimate is that there are approximately 1,500 affected sections in Titirangi and Laingholm, and that the average number of trees per section is 100. To protect each tree would require 150,000 arboreal examinations and on a pro rata basis 3,000 hearing days. I described the scheduling system for protection as “hopelessly unfit for purpose”. There has to be a better way to protect Titirangi’s trees.
The Auckland Council planners had a helpful suggestion and proposed that the Council be permitted to at least identify trees spatially so that a simple map could be used to show trees that should be protected. With the advent of google maps such a process could simplify what would otherwise be an onerous process.
Unfortunately the majority of the select committee did not agree and have proposed that not only the intent of the original changes remain but that the use of spatial identification of trees be specifically ruled out. They also have clarified a question that I raised about whether bush clearance rules still applied by stating that blanket tree protection does not apply whether or not the section is bush clad. This could mean that bush clearing rules may survive but clearly blanket tree protection rules will not.
The opposition supported retention of blanket tree protection measures. The Labour MPs issued a minority report saying the following:
“Submitters on this part of the bill, such as the Tree Council and the Environmental Defence Society, explained how the felling of one tree in parts of West Auckland where there are tree-clad hills and steep terrain can affect another adjacent property by virtue of the stabilising properties of tree roots. This was a very good example not simply of the amenity value of trees in the urban environment, but of their intrinsic worth for drainage, moisture absorption, and ground stability, as well as the interdependence of properties adjacent to each other.
Labour contends that the bill will atomise the protection of trees in the urban environment, and ignores the collective and community significance of trees and groups of trees in that environment. We support the general tree protection rules which existed previously. There is a legitimate and important case for protecting trees for wider community benefit and not simply defending the right of an individual property owner to fell any tree on their property.”
“The bill compromises urban amenity by its making it much harder for councils to protect and control the loss of urban trees. The bill will effectively allow landowners to trim or fell any urban trees with no need for a resource consent, unless the trees are individually described and their location legally identified in a plan schedule. It overturns a 2010 Environment Court decision which upheld councils’ ability under section 76 of the RMA to have general plan rules which required a resource consent to, for example, fell or trim urban trees of a particular species (such as coastal pohutukawa) or above a height or girth threshold.
Many submitters including the Tree Council, the Auckland Council, and the Environmental Defence Society strongly opposed the bill’s ban on general tree protection rules and the changes to section 76 of the RMA. Submitters said that trees help create a liveable city and are a community asset not just an individual property right. They highlighted the loss of mature and amenity trees which would result from the change, especially in Auckland given current development pressures. They variously said the requirement to schedule all trees deserving protection would be “costly and impractical,” “onerous and unworkable,” and “involve huge amounts of time and resources.” The Green Party agrees.”
The changes come into effect two years after the relevant provisions come into force. There is still time to stop the inevitable onslaught but it looks like a change of Government will be required.David Cunliffe has pledged to make this an election issue and to campaign to protect Titirangi’s trees. I believe that many locals will support him.
I drafted the submission for the Waitakere Ranges Local Board for the HASHA Bill. Text follows:
Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area
1. The Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area is an area of immense tree clad beauty in the west of Auckland. The area is very hilly and steep and dominated by the Waitakere Forest. It includes the West Coast Beaches Whatipu, Karekare, Piha, Anawhata, and Bethells Te Henga. Most of the area is outside Auckland’s Metropolitan Urban Limit although the areas of Titirangi, Laingholm and Woodlands Park are inside the MUL.
2. The area is protected by a local Act, the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008. The intent of the Act is to provide enduring protection for the area by preventing the loosening up of District Plan controls and by ensuring that planning decisions are sympathetic to the nature of the area.
Giving of Notice
3. The Board is concerned that the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill if enacted may potentially present a significant threat to the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area.
4. The provisions of the bill does not accord with the Auckland Housing Accord (“the Accord”) in a number of areas and could result in Special Housing Areas (“SHAs”) being approved in areas outside of current or proposed future growth areas within a short time period of time.
5. The Accord allows for the Council to propose and Council and the Government to agree to the creation of Special Housing Areas (SHAs) where planning and consenting can be accelerated.
6. Under clause 15 of the Accord a SHA is a development area within the proposed Rural Urban Boundary (“RUB”) identified for urban renewal.
7. The accord expires either three years after notification of the Unitary Plan (by which date the Plan should be operative) or six months after the giving of notice of intention to withdraw by either party. Until then it is binding on both parties.
8. The Bill requires three months notice being given and under section 13(4) this notice period prevails over the terms of an accord. It is surprising that a bill introduced shortly after the accord has been signed should contradict the accord.
Ministerial power to propose SHAs
9. The Bill also provides that the Minister can nominate a SHA if he has given notice to terminate an accord (section 16(4)(a)(ii). He assumes the power on the giving of notice, not on the termination of the accord.
10. The Auckland Housing Accord is the only one currently in existence. If contemplating the termination of the accord the only matter the Minister has to consult with Auckland Council on is that the date chosen will enable the orderly transition to the regime applying after the termination of the accord.
11. When exercising his power to nominate for creation a SHA the Minister has to “have regard to” the current District Plans and the draft Unitary Plan but this does not require him to follow their provisions. He can consider the plans and then decide on something entirely different. The purpose of the consideration is said to be “to ensure that the boundaries of the proposed special housing area are clearly defined in the Order in Council and easily identifiable in practice”. This gives the Minister a very wide discretion.
12. The only restriction in the Bill (section 16(3)) is that the Minister must not recommend an area unless satisfied that with appropriate infrastructure the proposed area could be used for qualifying developments and there is evidence of demand and there will be demand for housing. The criteria are very wide and controls on the siting of SHA are minimal.
13. There appears to be no restriction on designating SHAs in areas outside the RUB. The statutory criteria do not require environmental damage to be taken into account. The risk is that if the bill is passed areas within the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area (for instance) could be designated as SHAs.
14. The short time period have not allowed a full appreciation of the implications of an area being designated as a special housing area. But the implications appear to be considerable. The designation will mean amongst other things the following:
a. A person could apply for a resource consent even if the activity is otherwise prohibited in the draft unitary plan.
b. In determining the application the deciding body needs to give the most weight to the purpose of the Bill.
c. There is also power to seek a change to the District Plan although this may be limited to areas where the Unitary Plan anticipates development (section 61(2) bill).
15. While under the accord the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area appears to be safe, if notice to terminate is given the Minister assumes power that may allow him to designate SHAs in the Waitakere Ranges Heritage area. This may result in unwanted development occurring.
16. The board recommends that the Waitakere Ranges Heritage area as defined in the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008 be excluded from consideration as a SHA.
Feedback as always is welcome.
Reprinted from waitakerenews.blogspot.com
The politics of the Auckland Housing accord are concerning.
It came out of huge pressure being applied on Auckland Council by the Government. Either Auckland was to expand its borders or it would lose some of its planning powers.
This was never a Central Government decision. Under the conventional hierachy Auckland was to be responsible for the urban form that it aspired to. The legislation creating super city required Auckland Council to as a matter of urgency create a spatial plan. It was intended to address trends over the next thirty years and provide for Auckland’s economic, social, environmental and cultural well being. An ideal Auckland in the future had to be described and the means of getting there mapped out.
The problem is that current growth trends are clear. If they continue Auckland will have up to a million more residents by 2030.
The City has two options, either keep spreading or consolidate. Auckland Council has chosen a hybrid. It is intended that sixty percent of any growth occurs within existing city limits, the rest in greenfield areas. This was a decision for Auckland to make and it went through an extensive consultation with the Auckland Region to decide on this document.
It appears that the Government, concerned at rising disquiet about the affordability of housing, decided to blame Auckland. In an astounding outburst Nick Smith said in March that his intention was to break the “stranglehold” of Auckland Council’s policy of containing urban sprawl, a policy he says is “killing the dreams of Aucklanders” by driving up house prices.
This appeared to be calculated. To continue the belligerence Bll English has recently come out with the line that the Government cannot allow 20 Auckland planners to wreck the country’s economy. I hope this comment has been met with a strong response from Auckland Council protective of people who are with integrity doing their job.
This is the background to the formation of the Auckland Housing Accord. You really get the impression it was signed with Len’s arm shoved firmly up his back.
Then the Government introduced the Housing Accords And Special Housing Areas Bill. When you read both documents you have to wonder at the good faith on the part of the Government.
I noted previously that under the accord the parties were bound by the terms until six months after the notice to withdraw had been given and that the accord proposed a regime where Auckland Council would propose a special housing area and the parties would jointly approve any proposal. The Government would have a veto only.
Under the bill if Nick Smith throws his toys out of the cot then as soon as he gives notice to withdraw from the accord he can propose any area to be part of a SHA.
Another area of concern is that any developments authorised by the accord have to be areas identified in the Unitary Plan. The Housing Accord Bill though appears to be much wider than this. Under section 16(2) Smith has to “have regard to” current boundaries, the current district plan and any proposed plan “to ensure that the boundaries of the proposed special housing area are clearly defined in the Order in Council and easily identifiable in practice”. The Minister must not recommend unless he is satisfied that with appropriate infrastructure the area could be used, there is evidence of demand, and there will be demand for housing in the proposed SHA.
This means that Smith has to note the contents of the plans and consider them when making a decision but he does not have to follow them or the objectives of either plan. As long he has made a robust decision to do so he could decide to have high rise apartments in Titirangi Village or in the foothills. The existence of the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act will not stop him. I raised this as a nagging possibility previously. Now after having given it some thought I am seriously concerned.
The bill in its current form gives the Minister the power to completely undermine Auckland’s desire for a compact city form and propose development in areas totally unsuited for this. Such a centrally directed power that usurps the aims and aspirations of Auckland’s communities is the sort of thing you would expect to see in North Korea.
I blogged recently about the Government’s failure to continue funding of research into Kauri Dieback disease. The recent draft report into the operation of the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008 shows clearly that Kauri Dieback is the biggest natural threat to the natural health of the Waitakere Ranges. Yet despite this the Government has given up on the research. It is willing to spend $2 million on saving Wanganui Collegiate but nothing on saving Kauri even though some very promising areas of research have been identified.
It is thought that the disease first appeared in New Zealand as early as the 1940s. The understanding of how the disease is spread is not complete but it is believed that spores are spread by waterways and water films within soil as well as by feral pigs. Joggers and walkers with spores on their show are also a likely source of the disease’s spread.
There is a disturbingly high incidence of the disease near the walking tracks in the Waitakere Ranges. As a precaution some tracks have been closed.
Auckland Council and Department of Conservation officers and scientists have been conducting research on the disease. They have done sterling work and their research and efforts to deal with PTA are starting to show results.
Apologies to the gross simplification of work being done in the area but I believe that their approach can be categorized as follows:
1. They are experimenting with a chemical that they believe may treat PTA.
2. They are working out, Gaia like, how to maximize natural inhibitors to the spread of the disease.
The chemical trial involves the use of phosphoric acid and trials have occurred for the past two years. In 2011 glasshouse experiments were conducted. The experiment involved the application of phosphoric acid either by spraying, by the use of a hypodermic needle or as a soil drench. Trees were infected with PTA either by the introduction of a contaminated rice grain to a sore or through introducing inoculum to the soil.
Fourteen Kauri infected through the inoculum technique and left untreated were dead within 20 weeks. But 15 further Kauri injected with phosphoric acid were alive and healthy after the same period. Lesion growth was significantly smaller in treated trees than in untreated trees. The application of phosphoric acid through spray or soil drench also had a positive effect although less beneficial effect on the trees’ longevity.
In trees that were trunk inoculated with PTA only the injection method provided significant disease control.
Field tests were then conducted. In a Plant and Food Research report prepared for MAF and released in March 2013 it was noted that in one of the field tests a higher number of untreated Kauri appeared active (expressing fresh ooze) than treated Kauri. The phosphite did adversely affect the Kauri initially but a subsequent examination showed that the trees recovered.
This work was being funded by the Joint Agency for Long Term Management of Kauri Dieback Disease for which funding is running out.
The second area of work involves a series of assessing holistic and alternative methods to improve kauri health and/or to control PTA as well as using natural enemies of phytophthoras which can parasitise and/or produce antimicrobial compounds that inhibit pathogens. This approach has been successfully adopted in sustainable and organic horticultural production systems, for example in organic avocado orchards.
These are all field trials and the health of trees which have been treated with a range of different products is being monitored. As with the phosphite trials monitoring is underway but a few seasons of tree growth are required to measure how successful the trial is.
The latest budget does not have any good news. The final funding of $335k is due to be spent in the 2013/14 year and there is no further provision. All of this work faces the chop.
This is very disappointing. When the likes of Tane Mahuta are facing extinction and with there being some success with the techniques being used you would expect the Government at least try and do something.
By Greg Presland
The Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008 turned 5 this month and it is a good time to review how the Act is working and whether it is providing adequate protection for the Ranges.
I was involved in the development of the Act. I can recall an early meeting when Jonathan Hunt urged the Waitakere City Council to put in place meaningful protection by way of a local bill. I and a number of others had just been elected to the Waitakere City Council as part of the Team West ticket and one of our main policy planks was to protect the Ranges. The previous Council had attempted to free up subdivision and our election had reflected how unpopular this was with the locals.
The correct balance between environmental protection and allowing landowners to legitimately use their land was always a difficult thing to determine. I advocated for and the Legislation reflected a proposition that the Act should allow for existing development and subdivision rights to continue but the continuous easing of existing restrictions contained in the District Plan should not occur. The existing District Plan provisions should represent a minimum standard of protection below which protection standards would not be allowed to drop.
This proposal was motivated by the finding of the then Parliamentary Commissioner for the Enviroment Morgan Williams who said famously that if the system was not changed the Waitakere Ranges would suffer “death by a thousand cuts” caused by individual planning decisions that tended to push the envelope to maximise development and also the District Plan review process which almost inevitably led to weaker environmental standards over time. In particular the gradual lessening of subdivisional minimum lot sizes and the protection given to bush and trees could over time cause significant change to the local environment.
The Act was the subject of extensive review and consultation and 6 years after the start of the protection project the Act was enacted into law.
The Heritage Area covers 27,000 hectares of parkland and privately owned land and stretches from Titirangi through to Oratia, Henderson Valley, Swanson and all areas west of those places to the west coast beaches. It has been described as the lungs of Auckland and the West Coast beaches are legendary in their beauty.
One of the provisions of the Act, section 34, requires the Council to conduct 5 yearly reviews to report on how well the Act is performing. If there is significant degradation reported then obviously we will need to consider strengthening the provisions. The section requires environmental monitoring of the area, measurement of the progress made towards achieving the objectives of the Act and the funding implications arising from activities to be undertaken specifically to give effect to the Act.
In the preparation of the first report the area has been analyzed in relation to changes to landscape, development and consenting activity, ecosystems, cultural and built heritage, recreation and visiter management and people and communities. The results contained in the draft report from the first review are mostly pleasing. The report has not been formally adopted by Auckland Council as yet.
The landscape review, prepared by Melam Absulom, was based on field assessments conducted in a number of areas. Her assessment of landscape quality are that in 59 of 73 areas there has either been no change or a slightly positive change, and the remaining 14 areas have experienced minor negative changes, with the foothills being the area experiencing the most negative change. No major changes either way were identified. Adverse changes were caused primarily by the unsympathetic siting of homes and unfortunately by infrastructure developments by Auckland Transport. There are far too many areas of white concrete that have been built in the area or the siting of inappropriate transport signs and the Local Board is keen to reach an understanding with Auckland Transport so that AT developments respect the nature of the area.
In relation to consenting activity a further 76 lots have been created and 125 buildings and 198 building extensions have been approved. Demand for new development is said to have gradually reduced. The intent of the legislation to slow down development while at the same time preserving existing development rights appears to be occurring.
In terms of vegetation clearance each year there have been approximately 100 consents granted for vegetation clearance, primarily for the removal of individual trees. Overall the report estimates that vegetation clearance has occurred at the rate of 14 hectares per annum. Given the size of the area this is a reasonably good result.
The draft report notes that overall there are still 1600 actual or potential vacant lots in the area which could be built on. The draft report states that cumulative effects of development are now being addressed and commonly applied conditions relating to the use of recessive colours and materials and non reflective glazing and landscaping have reduced visual effects.
In relation to the state of the ecosystem the report acknowledges correctly the threat posed by the Kauri Dieback disease. Presently there is no cure, and if the spread of the disease is not stopped local Kauri face the prospect of extinction. There is very good work being performed by a Central Government/Local Government partnership but its funding is to be discontinued. This is a very shortsighted and frankly mean decision. Without Kauri the entire forest will be more vulnerable to threats.
Bird counts are relatively static and native ecosystems are otherwise in reasonably good shape. Since 2008 the amount of reserve land has increased by 170 hectares partially through the generosity of groups such as the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society.
Stream ecosystem showed good health with the Cascades stream having the highest quality purity in the region for all streams and the Opanuku ranked fifth.
Weeds continue to be a problem. The fracturing of the bush edge by felling and clearance makes invasion by weeds more prevalent.
In relation to visitor numbers the West Coast beaches continue to be the main draw cards although interestingly Piha’s visitor numbers have dropped over the past few years. It may be that the television show Piha Rescue has deterred people from visiting. The use of the park itself has increased although of concern is the role of visitors in the spread of Kauri Dieback.
With regards to people and communities the cancellation of the 2011 census has restricted the amount of data available and made analysis more difficult. The report notes however the myriad of groups and communities dedicated in a number of ways to preserving and enhancing the ranges area.
Overall the report is a welcome endorsement of the approach taken by the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008 while at the same time noting areas of concern and also identifying areas where more and better monitoring is required. The Waitakere Ranges are a taonga and make the area a special place to live in. We owe it to future generations to try and preserve the Waitakere Ranges the way it is now.
Also posted at waitakerenews.blogspot.co.nz
Auckland Council’s draft Unitary Plan is now out for comments from the public. It has already been the cause of some pubic dissent and well attended meetings in the north and east have expressed opposition. Their concerns appear to be based on a misapprehension of the effects of the plan as wall to wall skyscrapers in otherwise sleepy suburbs are not planned. The cries of nimby have been very loud.
The plan has had the unusual result of creating unity amongst left and right councillors concerned at the proposal that the plan has legal effect from advertisement, which should be in September of this year. The concern is that the plan is not fully understood and that unintended changes may occur.
Creation of the plan is a herculean task. The desire is to amalgamate fourteen different regional and district plans into one document, and for there to be a universal language and zone definition so that the same rules apply throughout the region.
The Council has high hopes for the plan however. Not only do they want to amalgamate plans but they want to review provisions and make changes so that the desires of Auckland’s Spatial Plan are achieved.
The intent is to build a compact city, able to absorb the significant increase in population that planners anticipate will occur over the next 30 years. It is thought that the City’s population will increase from 1.3 million to as high as 2.5 million in that time.
There are two major features to the plan. The Rural Urban Boundary is designed to put limits to Auckland’s growth. And intensification at areas such as transport interchanges such as rail stations is needed to accommodate the expected growth.
The ambitious nature of the changes have a significant number of councillors expressing concern by way of letter to the Government. Predictably from the right Christine Fletcher, Cameron Brewer, Dick Quax, George Wood, Callum Penrose and Sharon Stewart are opposed to Len Brown’s intended changes. But in a surprise to many Sandra Coney, Mike Lee and Wayne Walker also endorsed the letter Their concern, particularly that of Sandra Coney is that if the plan has legal effect from an early stage then current environmental standards may be compromised.
I have a great deal of sympathy for her view although the Council has found itself in a difficult position. The Government has threatened to take over aspects of Auckland’s planning functions unless Auckland Council does something about affordable housing. The motivation is undoubtedly political, blaming Auckland Council for the country’s housing affordability problems, but the threat is real. So the danger in supporting a careful measured process of change is that the Government may then step in and impose unacceptable change and damage to Auckland’s goal of having a compact urban form.
The trouble is that urban sprawl has a number of adverse effects. Private car use is increased, the cost of providing infrastructures is prohibitive and the land sprawled into tends to be the most fertile. You tend to get sleepy suburbs without a social centre and with all the attendant social problems. And in the long run they are more expensive suburbs to live in as the compulsory cost of owning and running a car add up.
I believe the political risk for Auckland Council to be significant. This Government has shown a propensity to take powers off local authorities if it is dissatisfied with their performance. For instance Environment Canterbury’s elected Council was replaced by commissioners in 2010 The strong impression is that the Government intervened following lobbying by Federated Farmers whose members were frustrated at ECan’s desire to preserve water rather than increase its’ availability to farmers.
Nick Smith raised this as a possibility when he vowed in March “to break through the stranglehold that the existing Metropolitan Urban Limit has on land supplies”. He said this barrier against urban sprawl was “killing the dreams of Aucklanders” by driving up land prices. He was on the hunt for “new tools” with which to knock down the MUL. The violent language used is not conducive to meaningful discussions.
As has been pointed out by Brian Rudman Smith’s instance that something happens now clashes with Amy Adams’ refusal to allow the Unitary Plan to have effect from the date of being advertised. On one hand Auckland Council is being told to do something straight away, on the other hand they are being told to wait. Amy Adams has made her views quite clear, she believes that the plan will come into effect in three years and there is no justification for making this any earlier. There is no sign of Auckland being able to get the plan approved more quickly than this.
I expect within the next month or so there will be special legislation introduced by Government which will have a dramatic effect on the proposed Rural Urban Boundary. It will be in the name of improving housing affordability but it will allow wealthy land owners to profit significantly. And Auckland’s dreams of a unitary plan to intelligently guide future growth will be under major threat.
By Greg Presland
As previously described, the Government is proposing to remove blanket tree protection for Titirangi’s and Laingholm’s trees.
If the Resource Management Reform Bill is passed then the Council will only be able to protect trees by specifying them or groups of them located on a specific property in the District Plan.
This proposal is totally unrealistic in Titirangi. There are just too many trees. If each of them was listed then many of their siblings would have to give up their lives to ensure that their future was protected, such would be the paper requirements of the plan.
And it is all very well talking about the individual rights of landowners but in stability sensitive Titirangi and Laingholm one of my trees may ensure that my neighbour’s house does not through erosion disappear down their bank. What is wrong with respecting my neighbour’s best interests?
And besides, Titirangi and Laingholm are special because of their trees. Why shouldn’t us locals be allowed to say this and put in place even the most basic of protections for the forest? And if we do not have blanket tree protection then slowly but inevitably Titirangi’s and Laingholm’s trees are going to be felled.
Submissions are important. The best way to persuade a Government not to do something is to show that the proposal is very unpopular.
If you want to make a submission then there are a few things to bear in mind:
1. Submissions have to be in by February 28, 2013.
2. Decide if you want to appear in person. Personal submissions have greater effect.
3. There is no magical form but the following is a draft submission containing things you may wish to include. If you want a word version then you can download one here.
The Committee Clerk
Local Government and Environment Committee
Select Committee Office
Submission on the Resource Management Act Reform Bill
1. This submission is from:
Daytime phone number:
Correspondence should be addressed to:
2. I wish/do not wish to appear before the Select Committee at Auckland in support of this submission.
3. I wish to oppose the removal of the Auckland Council’s ability to provide blanket protection for trees in the Titirangi and Laingholm areas for the following reasons:
- Trees provide the area with its character and are the most significant part of its amenity.
- Most of the area is stability sensitive and any clearing of the forest or of individual trees will adversely affect the stability of the area and the control of stormwater.
- Native trees in this area form the fringe of the Waitakere forest. Many are not assessable for their individual value, but form part of an ecosystem. They provide essential habitat for indigenous biodiversity.
- While removing one tree may have hardly any effect, the cumulative effect of this legislative change over a period of a few years could be very significant both for the built areas and for the integrity of the forest.
- Removing trees and bush will adversely affect the quality of the surrounding forest and allow for the invasion of weeds.
- Trees in the area contribute to the value of my property and clearance by others of trees on their properties will adversely affect my property value and potentially it’s integrity due to stability issues.
- The requirement to identify individual trees or groups of trees in the District Plan is hopelessly impractical. There are literally millions of trees in the area and the job of listing and categorising them would involve huge amounts of time and resources.
You can file submissions either by post or by using Parliament’s online submission uploader which is here.
If you cannot make a submission then there is an online petition that you can sign.