Red Alert

Saving West Auckland’s trees (again and again and again)

Posted by on February 22nd, 2013


Titirangi Ratepayers and Residents Association public meeting, 21 February 2013.

Last night Te Atatū Labour MP Phil Twyford and I joined a packed public meeting hosted by the Titirangi Ratepayers and Residents Association in my New Lynn electorate.

For too many attendees this was a groundhog day event.

Because yet again Westies are being forced to stand up to a Wellington-led move to abolish tree protection rules in the Waitakere Ranges. It really is crazy. But it seems that destroying West Auckland’s natural heritage has become a National Party obsession.

Environment Minister Amy Adams’ so-called Resource Management Reform Bill is a very poorly drafted piece of law. I reckon it’s deliberate, because when you untangle the jargon it’s nothing but a recipe for a chainsaw massacre.

Well West Aucklanders have seen all this before. We love our patch, we were staunch against Wellington’s chainsaws every other time – and last night the public meeting unanimously voted that we’ll be staunch against them now.

The National Government could save themselves one heck of a headache (and avoid underestimating the West Auckland community again) by simply excluding the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area from part 12 of Adams’ Bill.

But if National uses its numbers on behalf of the Property Council to push the chainsaw massacre through, then locals are determined this will not be the end of the story.

With the support of Auckland’s Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, Councillor Sandra Coney, Waitakere Ranges Local Board Chair Denise Yates and member Greg Presland, the Ratepayers have agreed we will propose to Auckland Council a Local Bill to revisit this attack.

Waitakere is our place. The rainforest in the Ranges is our children’s and their children’s natural heritage.

With shared resolve, and with history on our side, Westies will certainly save our trees again.

Upper Nihotupu Reservoir in the beautiful Waitakere Ranges.


13 Responses to “Saving West Auckland’s trees (again and again and again)”

  1. Hugh Allan says:

    And this creates jobs, housin, education, health…how?

  2. Anne says:

    The two most precious jewels in the Auckland crown are:

    1. The beautiful islands of the harbour and gulf.

    2. The Waitakere Ranges.

    Again and again the locals, concerned councillors and conservationists have had to fight tooth and nail to stop successive Nat/NAct govts. from despoiling both pristine environments either for commercial gain, or to placate their tunnel-visioned and selfish supporters. And now it’s happening again. These jewels do not belong to them or for that matter even the rest of us. We are merely the caretakers for future generations – something Tory politicians seem incapable of comprehending.

  3. Arkonaut says:

    Hullo David, why would a single tree be removed from the Waitakere Ranges? The Bill has nothing to do with that. The Waitakere Ranges are under the jurisdiction of the Auckland Council. No Council in their right mind would start felling the Ranges.

    What the Bill makes clear, and I’m sure you would know this, is that if there is a tree on my own property, the Council cannot prevent me from felling it unless it has specifically included it to be protected in the Plan. Council can’t simply say, as it can now, that all cabbage trees in private properties in New Lynn over a certain height are protected.

  4. insider says:

    Who and where are all these people lining up with chainsaws? Sound about as real as DC’s caucus support base

  5. Anne says:

    or to placate their tunnel-visioned and selfish supporters.

    There’s one just above me.

  6. David Cunliffe says:

    @Arkonaut: much of the Laingholm/woodlands/Titirangi area is bush clad but owned in parcels of 4ha or less, the rule change directly affects it. There is a massive public good around tree cover for stability, amenity and ecosystem integrity, but that is impossible to protect by individual listing( which would be a re tape nightmare if tried). And the locals really do care about it. So do I !

  7. David Cunliffe says:

    @Insider- developer pressure, fronted by the Property Council and others – is very real. Just ask Auckland Council who have been subject to major litigation pressure.

  8. insider says:

    So why would the locals suddenly stop caring just because of a rule change, when they cared for 100 years before the rule ever existed?

    You seem to be saying these wonderful,west aucklanders that own this land are in fact just fickle and venal, and dripping with barely repressed chain bar oil…

  9. Grant Hay says:

    @insider. I imagine that as is usually the case, it would only take a small percentage of venal and selfish landowners with an eye open to the main chance and no thought for the greater public good to create a nightmare for the majority…

  10. bbfloyd says:

    @grant… Innie is just using his blinkers again.. ignore him, he is being deliberately antagonistic…

    The fact is that it has always been the 5 percenters that have been the main culprits when it comes to the rape of the environment… These are the property developers, speculators, and “business” people who can only see dollar signs when everyone else sees a home, and a place for the children to grow..

    Ordinary people plant trees… speculators, and tories, cut them down later and profit from the destruction…

    Just so that we are all on the same page… west auckland was largely empty a century ago.. so there wasn’t anyone to “care” about what happened to the trees then… the houses didn’t get past Massey until the eighties in any number..So which “tradition” of conservatory pracice is he talking about? the one in his head is which…

    THAT is why david is able to talk this issue up today as he does. . Because the drive to protect the last dregs of our natural environment is a relatively recent development, and is still struggling to get a foothold in the psyche of west aucklanders…

    Hopefully not too late to save some of it at least..

  11. David Cunliffe says:

    @Insider, because money talks. And the first patch of bush next to the existing subdivisn will always be primo lucre, hence death by a thousand cuts. It’s called capitalism. Go on, admit it, you not only know it, you like it.

  12. David Cunliffe says:

    PS thanks BBF – you put it very well!

  13. Bruce says:

    None of my neighbour take any notice of native tree protection and nor do I .. the sun is more important , I will continue to cut away anything I want… sux on it NZ