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UPDATED: Developers will save Kauri – for a Price

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, March 11th, 2015 - 40 comments
Categories: capitalism, Conservation, Environment - Tags:


Tree is staying. Maybe.

Was driving through Henderson yesterday toward the Auckland City Centre and spotted a car with screen painting on it…

“Keep Kauri Standing”…

Imagine my surprise when I passed another on the motorway…

Imagine my further surprise when I passed said cars and saw they are Auckland Council cars with “Keep Kauri Standing” on the bumpers and sides.

They are part of a stop Kauri dieback scheme

But consented the chopping down of a hundreds year old healthy Kauri…

Be funny if it weren’t true

See here


Tree is staying.


40 comments on “UPDATED: Developers will save Kauri – for a Price”

  1. tinfoilhat 1

    Auckland Council is run by idiots.

    • Old Mickey 1.1

      So true, but be careful you will draw the rage from One Anonymous Bloke (left WING NUT Job) who loves all bureaucrats as they can not do any wrong. Dare not question their competance….be warned ! ALso dont question the RMA its all good 🙂

      tracey: warning for obvious derail attempt – you are lucky I don’ t have moderating rights )

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        Old Mickey’s answer to being caught lying is to tell more lies.

        If he had answers to the points I made he’d state them, and he doesn’t, so he lies about them instead.

        Feeble. Pathetic. Transparent.

        • tracey

          Thanks for not getting into it and responding simply. (not sarcasm – genuine appreciation of response to his attempted derailing)

      • millsy 1.1.2

        Didnt your lot bring in the RMA (Lab4 devised it, Nat4 implemented it — a true example of neo-liberal bi-partisanship, going across the desk of nearly all those who qualify to enter the free market hall of fame). It probably goes to show really,

        If you want to be a cynic, you could say that the RMA was more geared at constraining public sector control of resources and making it harder for councils and governments to carry out infrastructure and public works projects, and when its architects realised that private sector development would be curtailed as well, then they turned against it.

    • The Murphey 1.2

      Auckland Council is run by corporate aligned interest groups

  2. saveNZ 2

    Something has gone horribly wrong with Auckland Council. Much worse since the Supercity. Those in Wellington cross your fingers it doesn’t happen to you.

    Council Officials seem like Rodney Hide types with fiefdoms all over the council, in particular with planning and IT and zero accountability! Ratepayers need to call the CEO to account.

    The councillors do not have enough power to curb these moronic people and that is just what the supercity was designed to do. Remove democracy and accountability to ratepayers.

  3. weka 3

    The petition, nearly at their goal of 25,000 (just under 2,000 to go).


  4. Ad 4

    The protestors have hit the democratic equivalent of an oil strike.

    Question will be whether Council is prepared to overturn its own officials’ – and the Commissioners – decision.

    As per the Pohutukawa decision, it will depend strongly on how many people are prepared to show up to Council 9.30am tomorrow. This is pure politics now.

    • tracey 4.1

      If, as asserted, a landscape planner from Council stating it is not a minor impact, means it should have been publicly notified, that will give the political master at Auckland Council wriggle room.

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    What’s the matter, can’t you bear to admit your deceitful attempt to blame the RMA?

    PS: and enough derailing: take it to open mike if you want.

    moved old mickey

  6. Molly 6

    Changes to the RMA in 2009 removed the blanket protection for urban trees and required each tree to be individually identified on a protected trees register.

    Local government (including Auckland Council) is required to follow the RMA Act.

    Add to that, perhaps the planner’s personal bias, or the lasting vestiges of cronyism in our regulatory departments – and we have this outcome.

    This tree is symbolic – it represents all the other trees that have fallen (to the sound of chainsaws) but silently to the public.

    Those little legislative changes have long-term wide effects.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1

      The owners seem to have found some magic tunnel that lets them bypass an adverse planners report which would have gone to notified hearing for every other ordinary person.

      Years ago a major supermarket chain stopped the opening of a rival large supermarket ( it was 98% complete) by going to court about the traffic light turn signals.

      Thats right , resource consent, building consent all done, but the court overturned all that and it sat in limbo for some years.

      • Molly 6.1.1

        Here in Franklin, our regulatory planners considered the positioning of 310,000 chickens within 25m of a boundary to be “no more than minor”, and only required limited notification.

        During the hearing, the planners often commented in support of the application – unsolicited.

        After great public outcry the planners caved in, and Auckland Council passed the public relations problem on to the Environment Court. Craddocks have now taken the appeal to the Environment Court. Advice as to the cost of those who submitted against – on their own time and dime – to be adequately represented there – approx $60K. In comparison to those will benefit financially, there will be no net benefit to those residents who wish to protect their quality of life in their homes.

        To give some perspective to resource consent applications have a look at the statistics pages:
        “Resource consents declined

        Local authorities were asked for the number of resource consent applications that were declined.

        In 2005/2006, 0.69% (357) of resource consent applications processed were declined. This compares to 0.74% of applications in 2003/2004 and 0.56% in 2001/2002.”

        These figures are somewhat out of date, but that’s probably because the focus is on scoping a project that identifies the need for a National Monitoring system.

        Less than one percent are denied resource consents. And they can go to appeal. And these stats are before the changes that have been made to the RMA by the National government.

        • Lindsey

          I would not get too enthusiastic about the small % of declines. As a Planner, I know that our job is to make it clear to applicants as soon as possible if we think that we cannot support an application. Generally, the declines come from those few stubborn applicants who have been warned, but decided to plough on regardless. The others got the message, and either withdrew the application or made enough changes to it to make it acceptable.

          • saveNZ

            Yes, just give the planner a paper envelope with a extra donation, and it will sale through…. There needs to be more checks and balances as the planning process is open to corruption.

          • Sookie

            Am also a Planner and Lindsey is right. Most consents involve a lot of negotiation before you get to a decision apart from when you just cannot reason with someone. I miss working overseas when I got to decline crap applications all the time with no political pressure not to do so.

          • Molly

            Those pre-application meetings are a good weeding out process. For transparency it would be good to have those figures included in any statistics.

            As for the decision to notify… I have come across similar resource consents in my region that have been dealt with completely differently. I understand that from outside this may look suspicious but be entirely innocent, but once again, lack of transparency makes this hard to determine.

            In the case above, the effects of an egg-laying operation that would be the 3rd biggest in NZ, which was on a property only 275m wide should have resulted in public notification.

            The fact that it didn’t makes me suspect that there is something amiss with the decision making processes in the regulatory planning department. Upset residents, who were unable to be heard on the original application, but who are very close to the property were told that if they wished to contest the notification decision that they could take the matter to the Environment Court. They were advised that this could run into many thousands of dollars.

            The RMA process could do with some kind of moderation and oversight to ensure that all processes and applications are treated in similar ways.

          • saveNZ

            That process is a joke. I happen to know of an application that was told would be declined. The applicant withdrew it, then put it back in, with even more effects and the planner supported it.

            Don’t even suspect bribery, just stupidity. Blindly following a process which is being dominated by ‘expert’ reports which bend the truth.

            The planners are normally not bright enough to pick it up. For example with the kauri, the reports says ‘vegetation removed’. Yes, true, but 500 year of Kauri and Rimu is not normal vegetation. The planners don’t bother looking too hard, they just take the fees for the council. The experts take the money, and the applicant gets the consent.

            Doing any vigour into the process to protect the natural environment…. nope….

            I can’t believe the council will put rate payers money into ‘compensating’ the applicant for not cutting down the trees which clearly were misrepresented in reports.

            Again liasing with Iwi, ummm more money, less result.

            How about firing the planners that oversaw the bungle?

        • saveNZ

          Yes, there is so much of a problem. (sarcasm) less than1% of resource consents declined!!! No wonder National are blaming the RMA for everything less than 1% have not been able to build only a 99.44 % of applications approved!

          Now people, that is why our country is turning into a shit box. Also by the way anyone can put in a resource consent, you don’t actually need a qualification. At the height of the leaky building apparently a few hairdressers were designing apartment blocks. This has not been cleaned up. Fine, if someone is doing something simple, but designing houses or apartments with no qualifications? You also don’t need a geo tech if the council can’t be bothered to ask for it even if the ground is unstable. It’s like they are asking for trouble and cost to ratepayers from stupidity.

          No matter how terrible the consent, you are pretty much guaranteed to get it, because the council and commissioners and environment court think everything is minor. Just wish some of them could live next to 310,000 chickens or have a block wall blocking their view out as a discretionary activity so some greedy person can pay to get something they actually should not even be able to get through.

          Chicken farms are mean’t for the country! 25m away from neighbours – stupid. Will cause problems to everyone.

          • Adrian

            You’re really just not listening to people who know what they are talking about.

            • saveNZ

              I actually do know what I am talking about. Typical arrogance from a council planner. If wrong they pretend that nobody else knows what they are talking about.. Because they are experts….

              Another sign, not enough accountability! Moran’s who’s excuse is, you don’t know – we have to have those chickens and trees cut down…..

              Actually probably both were discretionary activities or worse.

              Off street parking more important than historic trees. Well the public have spoken what they think on that discretionary activity…

              Council planners wrong.

    • tracey 6.2

      If it we a kiwi would it have gone through?

    • cricklewood 6.3

      I dont think that the change removing blanket protection in this particular case is the issue. As a subdivision albeit small the council would have been well within its rights to make protection of that particular tree a condition of any consent. I see this done often and a project I am currently involved with has a number of trees named for retention as part of consent conditions. These including a Kauri @ 8m tall and 10-15 years old.
      One thing I do know is that the reponse you get from council when applying for consent to work on or around protected trees the reponse varies greatly depending on the council officer you deal with.

      • Adrian 6.3.1

        No, the RMA changes did not affect this case. If they had the debate would be about why the trees weren’t protected. Instead, the debate is about why consent was granted to remove them.

        The site was totally bush clad. When a residential lot was created, it was inevitable that some trees would be removed to create a building site. The issues are the decision to create the lot in the first place, and, once that was done, how best to develop it.

      • Molly 6.3.2

        “One thing I do know is that the reponse you get from council when applying for consent to work on or around protected trees the reponse varies greatly depending on the council officer you deal with.”
        Agree. And I think in some cases it is compounded by a small retention of the networks that used to grease the processes in smaller district councils.

        This lack of consistency and transparency causes the anomalies that frustrate both property owners and the general public.

  7. weka 7

    The owners have made a statement saying they followed due process and are good environmentally aware architects. Apparently the issue is over off street parking. My guess thus far is that this comes down to investment concerns. Why sub divide at all if you can’t design two houses on the land without chopping down heritage trees? Or just build smaller houses. As usual it’s about money.

  8. weka 8

    This is turning into a pretty interesting protest, and they look well organised.

    Video interviews with people at the tree site. Other trees were felled on Friday, and the protest is to stop the final three from being downed.

    “We’re here to stand up for what seems like a very simple right to live amongst nature”.

    The group is asking for help, both at the site tomorrow morning at 7am (or any morning), and in emailing the Auckland council. Sorry for the long paste, it’s from an email.

    He Kauri

    He Rangatira

    E tu

    Thank you so much. We’ve been overwhelmed by your support – two years ago we were a small group of neighbours and residents shocked that anyone could contemplate cutting down a 500 year old Kauri, but this last week we’ve grown into a movement over 25,000 strong, adamant that our taonga deserve protection. We won’t stop until our Kauri is safe. We’re here for the long haul, to #SaveOurKauri.

    (Photo credit: Elton McAleer)

    We want to update you on developments at 40 Paturoa Road. Today we really got a sense of how hard this could be, when a Police car and van crawled past us. Michael has already been trespassed, and we know that if he’s removed from the tree and arrested, the Kauri is no longer safe.

    That’s why we need your help. Please email Len Brown and the Auckland Councillors now, urging them to find a solution that will let our kauri stand for another 500 years. You may want to write your own letter but feel free to use this one:

    To: len.brown@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; john.watson@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; wayne.walker@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; cathy.casey@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; christine.fletcher@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; bill.cashmore@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; dick.quax@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; arthur.anae@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; sharon.stewart@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; alf.filipaina@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; calum.penrose@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; john.walker@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; denise.krum@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; chris.darby@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; george.wood@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; cameron.brewer@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; penny.webster@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; linda.cooper@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; penny.hulse@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; mike.lee@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; ross.clow @aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

    Dear Len & Auckland Councillors,

    Thank you for your efforts so far to #SaveOurKauri, however I’m writing to you to urge you to do more. This afternoon the tree was visited by several Police vehicles, and we still lack a long term solution to this Kauri’s protection. The situation is precarious, and we could be days from losing our ability to save the Kauri for generations to come.

    Please don’t let that happen.

    This cannot be the new normal, we need to save the Kauri for future generations and put in place processes immediately to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    Thank you,

    Insert your name.

    It is crucial over coming days that we maintain our presence at the site. We can #SaveOurKauri if we keep our numbers up, so please come down to support Michael and the whole team. The Facebook event is here, and we’d love to see you at 7am every morning, or whenever you can make it.

    TOMORROW we need a crew at the site, so please if you can go there. However we are also presenting the petition to the Auckland Council tomorrow morning. We will gather outside the Auckland Town Hall at 9am – if you can join us, bring a sign, bring a friend or three and stand with us to #SaveOurKauri!!

    Thank you again for all your support. We couldn’t do this without you.

    Kia kaha.

    The #SaveOurKauri team.

  9. CC 9

    Oh dear, how sad. The owners claim they have received death threats. It must be hard to get your head around the fact that some people think the life of a 3 to 5 hundred year old tree is more important than yours.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1

      That makes death threats ok how?

    • saveNZ 9.2

      Now they want the council (ratepayers) to compensate them.

      That’s a big problem with the council planners they keep making mistakes but the council just does nothing and rate payers and the future occupants of the country have to pay the price.

      Now they are talking compensation to the applicant.

      It’s like compensating a polluter cos the council is so gutless.

  10. Old Mickey 10

    Very funny on RadioLive, Mayoral Wantabe Penny Hulse called the bureaucrats “anal retentive”, and stated they got it wrong…..Go figure, both the Act and apllication by bureaucrats are found to be wanting, and not just in this case.

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