If Council can’t save a 500 year tree – what’s the point?



Auckland protesters fight to save 500-year-old kauri

An ancient kauri facing the axe in Auckland will stand for another day after a protester climbed up its trunk and refused to come down.

Council contractors turned up to fell the 500-year-old tree in Titirangi this morning only to discover locals surrounding it carrying placards.

The protesters said they were shocked to discover the council would approve of the destruction of the kauri and another 300-year-old rimu to make way for building improvements.

I don’t get this at all, if the bloody Council can’t save a 500 year tree, what’s the point of having a Council or any environmental protection?

In my mind a 500 year old tree trumps another subdivision, and if this is the future the Council intends for Auckland, this will be as liveable a City as Beijing after an increase in steel and concrete production.

The Lorax wouldn’t have put up with this shit!

What’s the point of the RMA if a 500 year old Kauri can be cut down? if Key gets his changes this is the future-it feels more 1915 than 2015


  1. Stephanie Rodgers of the Standard sums it up well.

    ” That’s the conflict which has resulted in a mass community protest this morning against the felling of a 500-year-old kauri, and a 300-year-old rimu, to make way for a new house and its deck. There are only 200 kauri of this age left in New Zealand – and this one in particular hasn’t been affected by kauri dieback, which is threatening the whole species.

    It’s the classic case of community vs private interests. Even someone with the smallest level of appreciation for our natural environment has to be awed by the idea of a living organism which has seen generations of humans come and go. The more of a filthy commo hippie you are, the more you find yourself thinking, how can any individual human possibly own something like that? Much less have the power to destroy it? How do you not think, “this is a treasure, and it deserves to be protected”?

    But that’s the attitude of our present government and many other people. Short-term profit is king, environmental interests are just nice-to-haves. Even serious, practical considerations – like the fact that much of the value of land in Titirangi is based on it being bushy and lush, or the strain placed on local infrastructure by aggressive development – are ignored.

    That’s what’s behind all the talk of RMA “red tape” and “bureaucracy gone mad”. It’s the catch-cry of people who believe, right to their core, that their individual benefit is the only thing that matters in the world, and damn the consequences for anyone else. That’s how we ended up with the leaky homes crisis – but unlike leaky homes, you can’t just “fix” the death of a centuries-old stand of trees.”

  2. It used to be the councils job to assess resources consents property. Now they just approve anything, (at great price) it is rubber stamped at commissioner level (and it has to be excessive even to get the commissioners to look at it ) and then you have to appeal it in environment court which is extremely expensive and well beyond the means of pretty much anyone.

    The developers know this, so they don’t even bother to keep to the rules of the district plan as there are so many loop holes there. now even private individuals are doing it.

    Private planners are making a killing by putting completely untrue reports in to get things through council, which even when proved to be untrue, means nothing to anyone except those effected.

    It is extremely corrupt and unfair system and is why we are getting so many building and transport problems as development occurs. The council planners are not only compliant in the system they actually try to hide any problems in their initial assessment to try to make sure they are not found out and hope it will all go away at building consent where there is less public scrutiny.

    There is very little environmental control in the RMA already. To actually fight in environment court is extremely expensive. So called environmental barristers are actually more interested in charging a million to putting that coal mine through, that non complying or excessive development and so forth. They would laugh you out of their office if you wanted to save a tree. Trees and the environment are not on their radar and they think you are a crack pot to care.

    The public though actually do care a lot. Amenity is everything to the public. Having trees, sun and light into your house, open space views etc. A great place to live is important. But means nothing to the council who’s interpretation of the RMA is laughable. They want to build over everything. Just plant another tree is their attitude. Concrete is good! The argument for development is that it helps because the waste water goes into the drains. Natural environment seem to have no real protection.

    You can’t even get an environmental barrister to represent you if you want to do something based on the ‘environment’ or any social good. They won’t take the case and it would cost $20 – $50k anyway to save the tree. Unfortunately most people a) don’t have the money and b) can’t get a reliable environmental barrister anyway. c) The barrister will make you settle anyway because they don’t want to go to court. d) the council planners will spend $100k of ratepayers money on consultants and barristers to make sure the tree is cut down. Sometimes the local board will step in but only if it is in the media.

    This is leading to a 3rd world situation of development where if you have the money you can get anything through. Unscrupulous people are making their developments way over spec with false reports, which are unlikely to be found out. If they are, they might do a minor adjustment which is above what it should be anyway. All this can cost a fortune to everyone concerned but the developer wins because they are pretty much guaranteed to get the consent.

    The main problem is the council planners and private planners and consultants who are under no legal requirement to be accurate and tell the truth. It seems to be voluntary. Someone needs to do an audit on their behaviour and that of the commissioners especially in Auckland.

    The public need to fight for amenity and let the council know they care and some private planner and transport engineer is not able to take away amenity willy nilly.

    It is death by 1000 cuts to the NZ environment and how we live.

  3. Where are all these State houses going to be built that people on thew left are pushing for unless green areas are built upon and trees cut down?

  4. Auckland Council does what it wants because that what it was set up to do, a faceless organisation set up by National that answers to no one, especially not the pointless impotent puppets called councillors.

    Its now accommodating the RMA reforms that National so cleverly changed to accommodate the whinging property developers and investors who pushed for this, who called ZB and ranted, who hate all things that does not directly fill their bank accounts.

    To answer your question, there is no point voting in local body elections in Auckland, whoever is elected have as much power to change or do anything as your average beggar in the street.

  5. If this noble Kauri and Rimu are felled, what’s to be done with the wood? Profit to be made no doubt.

    This situation in principle isn’t far removed from the destruction of ancient heritage by ISIS, just another group of warped extremists at work.

  6. Martyn

    Just think now this is happening as National are proudly showing off their super city idea and how functional it is around the country, as they rubber stamp all the other regions they are setting about to hoover up yet more small councils to convert into yet more of these large dysfunctional super councils.

    Get the message national?

    Not all that is bigger is better see.

    Leave our other regions alone to work better thank you.

  7. Not a brain between them. The answer is obvious, even if you asked a five year old, they would tell you!

  8. This is showing what will happen when the RMA is changed, if this can happen with it as it is, I shudder to think what will happen if Winston doesn’t get in. Key will see he has the right to make huge changes to the RMA. The developers are ready and waiting as you can see by this disgusting attack on these forest giants.

  9. This tree was alive when Francis Drake was Knighted by the Queen after circumnavigating the globe. It deserves better treatment than to be removed for house renovations

  10. Irony of ironies… it was the felling of native forests under Muldoon’s National government that was instrumental in moving me from my right wing beliefs, to more leftist ones in my late teens…

    This may well raise the environmental/political consciousness of many Consumers, and turn them back into fully functioning Citizens.

    • Why is this in any way ironic? This also has little to do with th National led government. It is an Auckland council issue. Last time I checked this was led by someone of a left leaning persuasion.

  11. If the tress come down then so should the houses that are built in their place.
    Burn the fucking things down, and when they are rebuilt burn em again.

  12. Where were all the protesters when the developer was going through the resource consent? It seems a bit late now, as far as I am aware the developer has done everything legally? I don’t believe any of you would be happy if you invested your money into a project, went through the proper channels did everything by the law and then have it held up by people who break the law because they don’t agree with it.

    • Well Mike & Steven, as you both didn’t get the point.

      As you should have read or listened to the news, Auckland Council only had limited consultation with the Maori committee, who didn’t represent all groups and even ignored their reservations.

      WORSE it was not let out to public for consultation!!!

      So that is the answer you need to understand all the concerns folks have here.

    • Sorry mate, but the local neighbours have been fighting this for two years at a cost of thousands. There was no public consultation, no Iwi consultation, and frankly, the Council has broken a number of rules to get this through.

      This is a notorious property developer who I understand has done this on a number of previous occasions. Due process is essential, and had it been fair, I may have agreed. However, this process has been corrupted from the start.

      How do I know? I live around the corner.

  13. Like you Frank, I was swayed from my National leanings by the openly corrupt ways of that erstwhile group…not trees in my case, but bowing to developers at the expensive of the community.
    I thought the analogy of Francis Drake was excellent…but this issue comes at a very oppertune moment…NORTHLAND MUST VOTE FOR WINSTON…if they dont, we are lost. Peter Dunne has said he will NOT support the changes to the RMA the National govt has in mind…and as so many have said before, this is the bare faced truth of changing the RMA.
    Sorry Northland – your bridges will have to wait, but probably not for long. We wont forget it.

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