The Herald reports:
Homeowners whose trees are illegally chopped down by neighbours will no longer be able to count on council help once a proposed law change likely to become final this week is passed.
What is not made clear is that only if the tree was protected, would the Council get involved anyway. And personalyl it is inane to try and justify a law that prevents a homeowner from trimming or felling their own trees, on the grounds that by banning homeowners from being able to fell their own trees, you also ban neighbours from felling your trees.
If there really is a problem with legions of neighbours sneaking onto properties in the middle of the night and chopping down trees, then deal with that problem directly – don’t pretend that the current law which imposes significant costs on homeowners with “protected” trees is the answer.
During a recent subdivision case, the Environment Court had accepted evidence that “quite a number” of people illegally chopped trees on someone else’s land to improve their views and/or sunlight, she said.
But few prosecutions were made because it was often difficult to prove who had done it “even when it was clear who would havebenefited”.
And in fact we find out that the number of times this law has actually helped a homeowner against tree cutting neighbours is so low you can probably count on one hand.
While the number of homeowners who have had to spend both money and time on getting permission to trim or chop their own trees is well into the thousands as I understand it – maybe tens of thousands.