Trees are just a symptom of a bigger issue. The government seems obsessed with removing all constraints on growth in Auckland. They act as if nzs biggest issue is Auckland property prices. Unfortunately they seem to be ignoring arguably the better economic policy of encouraging a more even distribution of jobs and population and wealth across the country. If Auckland prices itself out of the market then jobs and housing will spill over to Hamilton Whangarei Tauranga and other more affordable cities. Business is rational and will adjust to the changing reality. Unfortunately this government is trying to micro manage Auckland but not stepping up to address the bigger nation wide issues. They don't deserve another chance
Rhys, This is a great observation. This issue is not just about 6 trees, trees can grow again, but it is about priorities and the complete lack of meaningful public consultation. Initially I thought it was a non issue, just another bunch of tree huggers denying progress. The city needs its transport arteries.. right?. But then I heard that the stated purpose for the tree removal was to make way for a cycle lane ( but cycles can navigate curves) or an improved exit ( there is one already) to meet a 10 or 20 year projected need. So of course someone should have been asking "what are the alternatives and who else are the stakeholders in this matter?" The blind "full steam ahead" approach suggests a serious deficiency in judgement and governance which should concern us all.
A broader concern is that due to legal action from the Property Council and pressure from Wellington, Auckland Council was forced several years ago to remove its blanket protection on large trees which previously recognised their broader community benefit and required proper consideration and just cause to remove them. Most Aucklanders still believe that large natives are protected, but sadly this is wrong. Only listed or covenanted trees are protected and of the approx. 4000 listed trees the vast majority are on the council berm. Large trees on residential sections are completely unprotected. Only the landowner can apply to have a tree protected so the number of new applications is minimal. They can be removed without seeking any permit whatsoever and the tree removal business is booming. With the latest influx of foreign investment pouring in targetting subdivisible properties we are seeing people who have absolutely no connection with this country, who have no concern for local amenities or community values , who's only interest is in taking a quick capital gain to remit offshore, and sadly these offshore developers are reshaping and redefining our own leafy suburbs for no obvious benefit for NZ nor for the local community.
It was a major mistake for the Auckland Council to allow itself to be bullied into removing blanket tree protection. The old argument that “trees weren’t cut down in the past so they are safe in the future” is patently no longer valid when out of town developers are putting densification ahead of community values. We need to come to our senses and reinstate sensible policies that retain at least major native trees as a key part of our built environment and natural habitat. The chainsaws are working overtime in Auckland, and we need to call on our elected council to recognise their mistake, listen to the people, not just the developers, and act now before it is too late.