Two views on Titirangi’s Kauri

Written By: - Date published: 12:24 pm, March 15th, 2015 - 24 comments
Categories: Conservation, david cunliffe, Environment, national, same old national - Tags: , ,

Titirangi Kauri

There was an interesting variety of views expressed recently in the Herald on the ancient Titirangi Kauri tree that this week avoided the chop, at least for now.

Predictably Rodney Hide thinks that the whole thing is an attack on personal property rights and land owners should be able to fell trees just because they own them.  He said:

Quick, whack your old trees down. Otherwise you run the risk of having MP David Cunliffe living up it and being bossed about from New York by former Prime Minister Helen Clark. Supermodel Rachel Hunter will weigh in with obscenities on Facebook: that’s because you fail to appreciate the “life force” your tree holds.

That’s what has happened to architect John Lenihan and his family. They were going about the lawful enjoyment of their Titirangi property, including chopping down their old kauri. It was theirs. They bought it. But no matter. They had to be stopped.

Hide’s approach allows for no allowance for the community good that trees provide, for the stability they provide to neighbouring properties, for the habitat they provide for indigenous fauna or for the beauty they give to the local area.  According to Hide these things are of no value and totally irrelevant.

Hide’s view clashes with the view of Herald columnist John Roughan who has written a column which I agree with entirely.  This is an experience I am not sure I have had before.  Roughan has shown himself by this column to be something of a greenie at heart.  He says this:

One of the silliest things the present Government has done in my view was to make blanket tree protection illegal. Now, any trees a neighbourhood wants to protect need to be individually designated by the council, which is impractical and was intended to be.

National did this in its first year of power, no doubt fulfilling an Opposition promise to supporters railing about restrictions on the right to do what they like on their own property. It is surprising how many buy into a leafy street and immediately set about making it less so.

Environment Minister Nick Smith defended the Government’s decision at that time.

In the Cabinet room he might have argued differently. He and new Conservation Minister Maggie Barry weighed into the stand-off over a kauri marked for felling by a property owner at Titirangi this week. They were on the kauri’s side, which could mean Barry is making a difference in the Cabinet. She was not even in Parliament when blanket protection was outlawed.

Her words this week were notably stronger than Smith’s. He hoped the kauri could be “spared if at all possible”, adding that it was the council’s call. She said, “I do not support the felling of any mature kauri trees”.

Let’s hold her to that next time the Government starts to cut a motorway through a swathe of them.

Well said John.

24 comments on “Two views on Titirangi’s Kauri”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    I notice that Hide doesnt quite pin down Lenihan and Greensmith as developers. They building on the two adjacent sites to onsell for a profit.

    Greensmith has been an active developer in Titirangi area for some time, shes subdivided larger sites into smaller sections for sale.

    Its still not explained how they got around the town planner saying the approval should go for notification.

    Hides current job in Christchurch for one of his developer mates is to ‘wrangle’ development permits through the city Council.
    he hung around Wellington for a bit after leaving politics hoping to get a government job but the National party wouldnt touch him after his toxic affect on the ACT party.

  2. Nick K 2

    Lenihan & Greensmith developed land for houses? How dare they.

    Hide doesn’t dismiss those items at all, Mickey. They are implicit in the commissioner’s considerations when deciding to grant consent to cut down the tree. Once that decision is made – a quasi judicial one – the mob ruled and vigilantism took over. I’m a little surprised you accept that behaviour.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      The decision needs to be reviewed Nick because I cannot understand how it was not at least notified. And if the decision was in institutional terms correct then there is something wrong with the system.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.2

      Nothing wrong with Lenihan and Greensmith cutting down trees regularly to build houses, just they tried to avoid saying thats what they do.

      The public protest has shown the council is NOT following the process for more than a minor impact. A judicial review ( expensive) would stop this little charade in its tracks

  3. It is surprising how many buy into a leafy street and immediately set about making it less so.

    Goddamn, John Roughan said it more snappily than I did. Time to throw in the towel? 😛

    • mickysavage 3.1

      Yep I have said many negative things about Roughan but I read this and I though he absolutely nailed it.

  4. newsense 4

    Roughan’s a team guy, who as part of that is a Kiwi. He doesn’t feel, like the lefties here, that he has to agree with his team, especially with something as important as our ecological system.

    Hide takes our tax money, while arguing we as NZer’s have no sense of community or shared values that over ride personal property rights.

    On the other hand, two prominent Nats here arguing for it. If they change the law back- any time in the next 3 years, it is a win for them and some green-washing. And also ACT can then try to hoover up the classical rich and do what I want class.

    • Murray Rawshark 4.1

      “He doesn’t feel, like the lefties here, that he has to agree with his team,”

      I suspect you’ve never really looked at what goes on here. We hardly ever agree with each other.

  5. de Withiel 5

    Roughan is a typical, climate change denying, tory green and can’t see the disconnect between his promotion of and support for a National party ‘development at any cost agenda’ (including and especially, motorways) and his, I’m sure, quite sincere appreciation of New Zealand’s natural environment. He was quite cut-up by the late Professor John Morton’s death, which surprised me. John was an ardent protector of our indigenous flora and fauna and was quite outspoken about it.

  6. felix 6

    Hilarious to hear Rodney on the radio the other day. Reckons the people protesting are all latte drinking urban posers who have never been in the bush in their lives.

    Now I know Rodney a good stir and he’s basically paid for trolling these days, but jesus that’s a bone-headed thing to say. Bears zero relation to the people who put that protest together.

    And Rodney, seeing as you’re a regular reader and you think everyone here is mean and rude, I hope you’ll note that I criticised your behaviour and not you as a person. which is a lot nicer than you did in describing the protesters you sad bald git.

  7. JanM 7

    Difficult to associate the proposal to cut down such an old and venerable tree as coming from an architect. Is he a real one? – I have always associated architecture with respect for the environment. Mind you, I suppose, as with everything, there’s the good, the bad and the ugly

    • Melanie Scott 7.1

      Well I’ve reminded myself lately that I have a pretty poor opinion of Auckland architects who, with a few notable exceptions are an arrogant, philistine, money grubbing lot. They assume a superiority when it comes to taste and style which they have not merited, and most would be grasping developers if they could be. These two, cynically waited for the changes to RMA which protected trees of a certain size, age, species etc and then lodged their consent application. Cynical in the extreme was the Council’s notification to iwi that it was just “vegegation” that was being removed!
      I still visit parts of densely populated Europe from time to time and am always struck by the profusion, size and density of the treescape in centres of quite concentrated human population. The countryside too, in UK, the farms in the south especially, are covered in trees. The NZ agricultural countryside is hideous by comparison – grass and barbed wire, full stop. A greenie farmer friend from Poverty Bay who plants lots of native trees on his farm used to try and persuade his neighbours to do the same. They all said they hated trees, especially because they encouraged their animals to stand under them when it was hot or the weather was bad, when they should be eating grass.

  8. Lloyd 8

    Its really funny when right wing politicians complain about restrictions on property rights up to the moment that planners suggest that property rights should include the ability to develop residential property further than so far allowed. Suddenly increasing density is a terrible left-wing policy. They can’t have it both ways. If chopping down trees to allow development of a couple of houses is OK, then chopping down bungalows and replacing then with multi-storey tower blocks must be even better as it allows a property owner to develop the property without negative controls from Council bureaucrats.
    Surely allowing you to develop your property to the maximum the market can stand is right in line with neo-liberal philosophy. I await Rodney Hide’s publication of a statement decrying the piddly degree which the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan allows a property owner to increase the dwelling density in the central Auckland area. along with a specific plea to double or triple the maximum housing density allowed under the unitary plan compared with what will be allowed under the proposed unitary plan as it presently stands.
    All the property owners of Remuera and Howick should be able to put multi-storey buildings on their property. Anything else is kow-towing to namby-pamby leftie greenie philosophies such as allowing good residential environment and access to sunlight. Build it – any other consideration must be a left wing conspiracy. Dick Quax and Brian Leyland who oppose greater housing densities are obviously greenie – lefties.

    • Melanie Scott 8.1

      For the past week I have been having fantasies about abbatoirs in Vicky Ave and panel beaters in Long Drive.

  9. TheBlackKitten 9

    Hide did forget to mention that these owners were filthy middle class developers hoping to get ahead in life and make some money by developing their land (how dare they!!!). However in the same token what has being missed here is that they would have produced one more house to the strangled depleted housing market that has become Auckland.
    I wonder if the precious Rachael Hunter or the privileged Helen Clark understand the stress and pressure of those that are in a desperate search for a home in the Auckland market. How many of you have tried to buy or rent a property in Auckland lately?
    So with this Kauri tree crusade, where there is no evidence to say this tree is indeed 500 years old, what has also being achieved is that one family will now miss out on buying & renting a home.
    Let me explain the economics of this. When people purchases houses they will generally spend as much as they are able to to buy something nice. So lets say, there are 20 houses available in the Kauri crusade price range but 30 people wanting to purchase (these numbers are hypothetical). 10 will miss out and will then seek to purchase at the next rung down on the property ladder. Remember people purchase at their highest purchasing power so if no stock is available in that range they will look at lower price ranges. The 10 people that purchase at the next rung down will see 10 people in that price range being bumped down another level. This chain will continue right down to the rentals. So in denying 1 extra house at the end of the chain there will be one family who will be bumped out of a rental. Perhaps a caravan will be the next option for them.
    Now my question is – Was the Kauri crusade worth the expense of some being denied a home to rent and buy in a market that is clearly suffering a huge supply and demand issue?
    Its also interesting to note that those up in arms do not have one iota of an idea of how stressful and distressing it is to find a home to buy or rent in this Auckland market that is short of supply probably because of ridiculous situations such is this.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 9.1

      This is absurd. According to your supply and demand theory there is no difference between a house in treeless Karaka and leafy Titirangi.

      In any suburb there is for obvious reasons a finite amount of house sites : from nearly zero in Ponsonby ( all built up) to many many sites in flat treeless empty Ormsby.

      I can assure you the thing the developers dont want is an unlimited supply of new homes , especially in Titirangi. Prices dropping considerably? I Dont think so.

      I have seen this in my previous work. A large subdivision of 300 + sections. But only about 100 or so released for sale each year. Thats the way prices are kept high.

      • TheBlackKitten 9.1.1

        “there is no difference between a house in treeless Karaka and leafy Titirangi.”
        There isn’t. Its called desperation. Have you tried to buy or rent property in Auckland recently? If so, then you would understand what I mean. People are desperate and a home although not in their suburb of choice is a home. Heck do you really think people that commute from East, West, South and the Shore into the city each day to work would not prefer to be closer to their work in suburbs such as Ponsonby, Parnell or Mt Eden. But they don’t live there and the reason is because they the can not afford to do so.
        Glad to see that we agree that prices would drop considerably if there was plenty of supply, not to sure I agree with your theory re developers. Surly the more they build the more they make. Say if they had access to land for 500 x $50.00 houses instead of 200 x $ 50.00. Even if they restricted the 200 by releasing them at 50 a year for $ 100.00 instead of $ 50.00 the return of 500 at $50.00 would still be greater. Also restricting houses means less dollars in their pockets as they need to wait longer to reap the profits.

        • Molly 9.1.1.1

          Developers will release in stages, and by doing so – do not have to pay rates on titles until those stages are deemed most profitable to release.

          The scarcity is retained, prices are maintained at a higher level.

  10. DoublePlusGood 10

    Someone really should buy the house next to Rodney, build a giant eyesore on it that takes away his views, plant trees with assertive root systems along the border, and mount a foghorn on top of the house that discharges as 3am every night. He would quickly gain an appreciation as to why we have rules on what people can do on their property.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 10.1

      A combination bottleshop and tyre store. That should do it. Opening hours 7am to 11pm

  11. Typical rightwing bullshit – Rodney’s market forces vs Roughan’s sentimental landscape.

    These people have nothing to do with the left and its defence of nature and humanity.

    The landscape that Roughan loves is that which is all but destroyed by predatory capitalism that Hide champions.

    It survived only because as a specimen it had little economic value when Kauri trees were harvested in the 19th century.

    The instinct to protect this tree shows that they people recognise an icon of what has been destroyed in Aotearoa by colonisation.

    Its preservation is a small victory in the battle against climate change, species extinction and destructive rip, shit and bust predatory capitalism dying on its feet.

    It’s time that the killing spree that is capitalism was stopped by replacing it with a society that lives in harmony with nature.

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175968/tomgram%3A_william_debuys%2C_a_global_war_on_nature/#.VQXv40iYONk.twitter

  12. Malconz 12

    Using Rodders’ logic, if I owned a Leonardo and decided it wouldn’t really go with the new house I was building in Titirangi, then It would be perfectly OK to burn it. What’s the problem? It’s just a 500-year-old painting, and there are millions more paintings left in the world!

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    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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