Auckland Council commencing assessment of 610 tree nominations

Publish Date : 25 Feb 2022

Auckland Council is commencing assessment of 610 tree nominations for inclusion in the Notable Tree Schedule, with work underway to prepare a plan change for notification in 2023 to add trees that meet notable tree criteria to Schedule 10 of the Auckland Unitary Plan.

It follows a Planning Committee decision in November 2020 to schedule the trees when resources permit, with a longer-term focus on seeking the reinstatement by the government of general tree protections.

Mayor Phil Goff says while the process will help protect the nominated trees that meet the criteria, this does not stop widespread and sometimes arbitrary removal of significant mature trees outside those which are specifically listed.

“Council continues to push for the government to implement a better solution through resource management reforms that will enable general protection of Auckland’s significant trees.

“We have been advocating strongly for the restoration of some of the general tree protections removed by the previous National government in 2013 as part of changes to the Resource Management Act. The removal of these protections means councils must rely on listing individual trees at significant cost, and this has resulted in a lack of protection for large numbers of trees of notable size and character across Auckland.

“Although we are able to schedule specifically identified notable trees, doing so tree by tree is costly and time consuming and will only protect a small minority of Auckland’s important trees.

“While council officers have secured the resources needed to progress the scheduling process in this instance, the costs mean that this is not an adequate long-term solution.

“Work continues between council staff and officials from the Ministry for the Environment as the legislative settings in the new system relating to tree protection are being developed, and I continue to have regular conversations with government Ministers on how best to achieve an appropriate balance that can better protect Auckland’s important and notable trees while continuing to enable the development our city needs to deliver infrastructure and address the housing shortage.

“Earlier this month in response to a letter co-signed with Councillors Chris Darby and Richard Hills, Environment Minister David Parker informed me that Associate Environment Minister Phil Twyford has been appointed to take the lead on tree protection in the new system as it aligns well with his delegations for urban development. We look forward to working closely with Minister Twyford to progress changes that meet Auckland’s needs, protect trees, and continue to support the city’s development.”

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