They are not your trees Brian

September 4th, 2009 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Brian Rudman writes:

So tell me again, and slowly: we have a Government that in one breath is trying to find a way to cut greenhouse gas emissions, yet in the next is fast-tracking a law declaring open season on every urban tree in the land.

Now you read that and you would think Rudman is talking about great swathes of urban forests  under threat. The Government is going to let developers destroy the Wellington Town Belt etc.

Alas the true story is far less exciting. What he Government is doing is allowing home owners to trim or chop down the trees they own on their private land. And even then, it is not absolute. They are merely saying that Councils have to have a valid reason to list individual trees as warranting protection, rather than list entire classes of trees.

So what this means is a homeowner will be able to chop down one of their own trees, or trim it, should they wish to do so. The thought this have any impact on carbon emissions is pathetically hysterical. We’re not talking hectares of forests here, but generally individual trees being trimmed or replaced.

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72 Responses to “They are not your trees Brian”

  1. Nigel (517 comments) says:

    The government are being very sensible here. Maybe something like Kauri could be protected, but the bar would need to be very high ( ie the tree was seriously endangered ) before an entire class should be protected like that.

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  2. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Rubbish. I don’t agree with Rudman.
    If they own the land then they should be able to make the decision on it.
    otherwise people will do what they’ve done for years, Do it at night and even incrementally.

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  3. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    I choped down a 45m Norfolk Pine that was on my property in Lower Hutt. It was a pain and was wrecking my house, dropping needles and sap over everything. I heard that if I lived in Auckland I wouldn’t have been ablel to. Is that correct?

    Trouble is that people plant a nice tree and forty years later it is a menace, and subsequent owners have to deal with it.

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  4. Tom Semmens (79 comments) says:

    New Zealanders – and right wingers in particular – need to get over themselves and their settler mentality of raping the environment for their personal satisfaction. We need to start realising that we don’t have a God given right to do as we want with our property, and we don’t just live in the now but are stewards of the future and protectors of the past. Protecting trees is hardly an onerous provision.

    If you really want to get hysterical about private property rights, try altering a listed building in the UK or Europe. You can’t even change the colour of your door without permission, and no one apart from the philistines there minds that much – because they value their heritage.

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  5. Rich Prick (1,726 comments) says:

    Yes Brian, you would need resouce consent and to apply for that you would need an arborist’s report. The resource consent might need to be publicly notified attracting every greenie busy-body to interfere with you. If you get consent it may come with the condition that you establish a Council sanctioned tree elsewhere on your property. Oh, and you might need about $3k to throw at the whole process.

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  6. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    and we are talking about developers sitting on the sidelines..slavering/drooling..

    over their soon-to-be-ability to knock over trees at will..

    gee..!

    and it was only a couple of weeks ago i was driving around thinking how much better auckland is/looks..

    ..now that the trees have all grown up..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  7. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    You are making me Dizzy Tom.

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  8. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Tom you do not appreciate the law of unintended consequences.
    The main impact of blanket tree regulations is to discourage people from planting trees – in particular native trees or any tree which might grow to a decent height.

    After we had been living in Waitakere City for 30 years my wife and I wanted to create a park like mini subdivision built around olive groves and native planting and finally ended up in Kaipara District in NOrthland because they had no tree regulations.
    We planted over 80,000 trees and plants. Had we remained in Waitakere we would have planted about 50,000 future resource consents. You would have to be crazy.
    The Oneriri peninsula is full of massive tree plantings (the Eco Village and the Sylvesters about 100,000 in total) because we are the first rural residential area over the ARC boundary.
    The stupidest rules are the ones that say you need permission to prune a native tree when it reaches 3m but an exotic tree can grow to 6m. Guess what people plant. That is why the native plant nurseries in Waitakere City are going broke.
    The end result of tree regulations like this is landscaping dominated by rocks, yucks and sucs.
    You can see it all over the new developments around Auckland. Compare that to the old suburbs planted before planners and arborists found a new source of income.

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  9. TripeWryter (716 comments) says:

    I’d forgotten there are people who really do think like Tom Semmens …

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  10. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    Tom Semmens. OK – I’ll get over it. When you come and clean and paint my house and repair my car, clean my gutters out from all the pine needles. People like you are what caused the deaths of two hundred people in the Aussie bush fires – greenie’s who wouldn’t even let scrub along roads be cleared. The people who survived were the ones that cleared the bush around their houses.

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  11. alex Masterley (1,523 comments) says:

    Brian,

    It depends on where you live in Auckland. In Auckland city cutting anything down that is over 6 metres high needs a permit unless it is a fruiting tree.

    Getting a permit is a pain in the but.

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  12. Tom Semmens (79 comments) says:

    Owen, you know as well I that these new rules are just Auckland’s property developers cashing their donation cheque to the National Party. That 200 year old Pohutukawa blocking a postage stamp view of the sea from a new McMansion sub-division? Down it goes. There is no real reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater unless you are rigging the rules to suit one small group whose record of environmental vandalism is second to none in this country.

    [DPF: The 200 year old tree can be protected on an individual basis if it merits it. But why impose costs on every homeowner who has a tree they want to trim or chop]

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  13. gravedodger (1,570 comments) says:

    FFS Tom have you updated your laptop lately. It is called progress. Have you never had to deal with the nuisance that an inappropriately placed tree causes you as an owner or neighbour. Why do the nazis in town planning accept max heights and other restrictions for structures but then allow trees that will grow to many times that height and volume to be planted and will cost an arm and a leg to remove both through the permit with its report requirements plus the actual cost of trimming or removal.

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  14. Tom Semmens (79 comments) says:

    Actually Brian, what killed 200 people in Australia were insane zoning laws that allowed property developers to build sprawling suburbs in the middle of tinder dry bush in a country known for its weather extremes and bush fires.

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  15. bobux (349 comments) says:

    When I last lived near Auckland, I took a number of overseas visitors to the top of Mt Eden, and they all marveled over how green the view was. That was years before the Auckland council imposed its draconian tree preservation rules.

    People like trees. The average suburban homeowner plants far more than they chop down, and have done for a century. The current regulations are a solution looking for a problem.

    As others have pointed out, their main effect has been to bind residents in red tape, and discourage them from planting anything larger than a shrub.

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  16. TripeWryter (716 comments) says:

    What’s so special about a 200-year-old pohutukawa?

    In Victoria, presumably the developers developed and built houses because they thought there was a market for people to go and live there. And they were free to do so.

    Similarly, people weigh up the risks of whether they will die by fire when they move into closely packed apartment blocks in cities.

    The misguided interference of greenies and conservationists in Victoria had fatal consequences.

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  17. Jack5 (5,157 comments) says:

    Greenies can’t have it both ways.

    If their global warming is true and as bad as they predict (worse each week), then urban tree belts will become fire risks.

    Victoria, California, then Wellington. Jeez think of what a firestorm the Wellington winds could whip up in the hot, dry Green future.

    Cutting down urban trees now becomes Green.

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  18. big bruv (14,156 comments) says:

    Guys

    Tom knows what is best for us, the sooner you all come to appreciate that the left are truly the great ones the better and more fulfilling your life will become.

    Do not argue with them, do not seek to debate them as your arguments hold no value, the greater good will always be more important than your own selfish capitalist wants.

    You would be far better to spend your time helping your brother, for he may not have the things you have in life, wealth is to be shared among all of Aotearoa’s inhabitants, it is simply not fair for you to have all when your brother has none.

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  19. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Tom

    The council still has the ability to identify trees worthy of protection. I’m perfectly happy for the council to to stick a protection order on any 200-year-old pohutukawa it can find. As an added bonus, it might require them to actually get out of the office and interact with some ratepayers.

    What I (and most others on this list) object to is blanket restrictions that requires council permission to cut down a seven-year-old willow that is blocking drains.

    Incidentally, what percentage of trees in Auckland actually pre-date the establishment of the city? The vast vast majority have been planted by earlier citizens, possibly even including (gasp) right-wingers.

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  20. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    This change would have saved my brother 2-3 grand when building his house in Auckland. The block of land had a small clump of rather unattractive trees right in the middle. Kind of hard to build a house with trees in the middle of it. He had to apply for consents, get an arborist report. As he says, his neighbours across the gully had cleared all the trees on their block and built a McMansion. They then objected to him cutting down any trees on his land, as they liked looking at them. FFS, if they liked trees so much, why’d they cut down the trees on their property. Simply really – they like the trees whilst they’re free – it’s easy to tell someone else to bear the costs of your pleasure. But the fact they cut down their own trees tells us how much they value them when they pay the cost.

    The trees obviously came down – it was stupid that they be there. And my brother planted new (and nicer) trees around the outside of the block of land.

    If we really cared about trees we’d do things that made it viable for people to have them:
    – subdivide land in blocks big enough to have some trees after you build the house – not just giving people a block of land big enough for a house and a 3m strip of bare land all around the outside
    – let people build 2 storey houses – which then leaves half your block free for trees and gardens
    – let people manage those trees – who’d plant a tree today if you may not be able to change your mind later

    And Tom, not sure what bee you’ve got in your bonnet over property developers. But you’re making very little sense at all.

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  21. Nigel (517 comments) says:

    Tom

    We don’t live in New Zealand because we want a CCTV camera films use many times a day or being told what colour to paint our door. If you want that live in the UK or Europe, Kiwi’s like their independence & I think we’ve gone to far in controlling what can be done on our plot of land already, we need less rules not more.

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  22. gravedodger (1,570 comments) says:

    I am aware of one instance in Victoria where one resident was fined under vegetation clearance laws before the disaster and then had the only house standing after the fire went through. He paid four times; insurance,vegetation clearance, the fine and collateral damage. Bet he is a great supporter of the stupid tree huggers. I know he could have lived somewhere else but the point is that insane rules made what could have been a reasonably safe environment was compromised by people who knew best when they were so tragically wrong.

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  23. alex Masterley (1,523 comments) says:

    BB,

    Thanks for the reminder that the true path is to the left. I had forgotten.

    I will cast aside the chainsaw and the trimmers and return to the true path of rightiousness,

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  24. scrubone (3,105 comments) says:

    1. I know someone in Dunedin who is a decent bloke, very much an outdoors person, who went around his property measuring trees and cutting down those that were coming close to the council “protected” size. It’ s just not worth the hassle. He had a huge tree which was eventually cut down – it was a massive hazard being in the middle of 3 houses – and I understand getting permission (even after one of the neighbors poisoned it) was horrendous.

    2. There’s a building in Moray place that’s painted a nice blue… I understand the council was very angry about that when it was done. I also once met someone who had a protected house, and they were restricted in the colour they could paint it – I think they were told which one actually.

    3. Unfortunately no matter how well meaning this new law is, it *will* end up with trees being cut down. Quite simply, people are going to look into the future and see the same regulations coming back and get in before they change again.

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  25. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    Nothing a drill into the roots and some paraquat wont fix.

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  26. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    New Zealand residential areas are usually heavily planted with trees, there’s no need for councils to place restrictions on dropping them, urbanites always seem keen to plant more.

    Giving some individual trees special protection is also usually idiotic, as inevitably the trees given such status are coming to the end of their natural lives anyway.

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  27. alex Masterley (1,523 comments) says:

    Can you still get paraquat?
    great stuff that.

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  28. joe90 (273 comments) says:

    People like you are what caused the deaths of two hundred people in the Aussie bush fires – greenie’s who wouldn’t even let scrub along roads be cleared. The people who survived were the ones that cleared the bush around their houses.

    Apparently not Brian:
    On that day, the fires were so large and their behavior so extreme that relatively small, scattered fuel reduced areas were easily by-passed by long-distance spotting and so could have no influence on improving the already non-existent capability to control them.

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2668485.htm

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  29. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    So instead of the bureacracy of requiring resource consent applications to fell or trim trees, we will have the bureacucracy of councils having to identify and schedule every individual tree of significance.

    Surely there has to be a better way – like retaining the ability for council to protect classes of trees but making reasonable trimming of protected trees a permissible activity and having felling of them approved on-site under delegated authority.

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  30. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Phil U said…
    over their soon-to-be-ability to knock over (THEIR OWN) trees at will..

    well said Phil.

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  31. gravedodger (1,570 comments) says:

    The most accurate way to establish the age of a tree is to cut it down and count the growth rings. Sheesh that might not be such a good idea perhaps I will pop down to the Treefellers Arms and reconsider that idea by consulting Eric as he is the resident expert.

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  32. davidp (3,588 comments) says:

    Semmens>If you really want to get hysterical about private property rights, try altering a listed building in the UK or Europe. You can’t even change the colour of your door without permission

    I’ve seen this in action. A person will get an architect to design an inspired extension or renovation. Then some 23 year old council worker with a diploma in town planning gets to tell the architect that he needs to change the windows, or make some other ugly change that’ll deliver the sort of pastiche result that the council want. Yuk!

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  33. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    joe90 – no, it didn’t stop the fire, as they were by-passed. But given a choice between my house being by-passed and not, I know what I’ll take.

    And, of course, if everyone had done a reasonable amount of hazard reduction, that might have been enough to protect whole communities.

    Toad – I agree (arrggghhh, needles in my eyes) that it sounds like a lot more bureaucracy.

    But let me go another way – it would be great if, when a subdivision was created, the council came out and identified the exact trees that were protected. And not in the sense of “every tree bigger than Xm”, but in the sense of “if you are going to subdivide in that way, then obviously these trees in the middle of that block of land cannot be protected.

    And if they really want those trees protected, then have the developer subdivide in a different way so that those trees are not in the middle of a block – but rather fall on the edges. Sure, they may have to have a few blocks that are slightly larger than the bare minimum. But the result will be much better – subdividing a block with trees in the middle will always result in those trees being cut down, there’s just more paperwork if it isn’t sorted out up front. Whereas working with the developer to subdivide in a way that makes retention of the trees likely is probably going to give a much better result, and probably also increase the land values.

    The current system is just bureaucracy that is doomed to fail – so it makes development expensive whilst achieving nothing.

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  34. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller 10:41 am,

    Nothing a drill into the roots and some paraquat wont fix.

    Brian, you remind me of an account I heard where a homeowner lived across the road from Petone Green. As you would know, the green is ringed around the perimeter with Pohutakawas. The people concerned found that, as a result of the trees continued growth, they eventually lost most of the morning sun. One tree in particular. They asked the local council whether the tree could be trimmed back to its height of only a few years ago to return good morning sun to their property. I think they said they would even help with some of the costs.

    The council stated that the trees, being natives, were protected and could not even be trimmed – no negotiations.
    Long story short; several months later, for some inexplicable reason, the very tree which had been blocking the sun started to lose foliage and eventually died. The council had to remove the tree for ‘safety’ reasons. I did hear mention that something like paraquat drilled into the root system was behind the tree’s demise.

    This shows the stupidity of councils, greenies, etc. Ignore reasonable solutions and force people to take extreme measures.
    The old adage; ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ comes to mind.

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  35. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    alex Masterly said: Can you still get paraquat?

    Yep

    Ingestion of paraquat by humans is usually fatal and it may cause serious lung and kidney damage; once absorbed there is no antidote. The lung is the target organ because it selectively accumulates paraquat and consequently the concentration in the alveolar type I and II lung cells reaches sufficient levels to cause toxic effects in those cells. Paraquat causes a progressive fibrosis of the lungs and also damages the kidneys. Once in the lungs, death for the victim is slow and painful, occurring over a period of several days to a week or more with the progressive fibrosis of the lung leading to eventual suffocation. Deliberate ingestion of paraquat is a not uncommon method of chemical induced suicide. The current WHO Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for paraquat is 0.005 mg of paraquat ion/kg bw. It also has an acute RfD of 0.006 mg of paraquat ion/kg bw.

    Paraquat is very ecotoxic to the aquatic environment, with an EC50 of 0.00055 mg/L for algae. It is also ecotoxic to terrestrial vertebrates and invertebrates.

    Paraquat is biodegraded very slowly in soil. Photolysis and volatilisation from soil is not significant. Paraquat is expected to be almost immobile in soil, as it binds extremely tightly (estimated Koc value of 15,473-1,000,000). It is also very soluble in water with a solubility of 700 g/L. The estimated average field half-life of paraquat in soil is 1,000 days. If released to water, paraquat will be completely removed from water in 8-12 days due to adsorption to suspended solids and sediment.

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  36. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Tom Semmen said…
    That 200 year old Pohutukawa blocking a postage stamp view of the sea from a new McMansion sub-division?

    Tom, you need some serious education man. How about starting with the concepts of rights (ie, property rights) heh? It is easy to grasp really, since it is not as complex as something like differential calculus.

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  37. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    alex Masterley – you would be surprised what you find in garage sales around the place.

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  38. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    The old adage; ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ comes to mind.

    Or to update it “Where there’s a drill there’s a way”

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  39. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    toad – paraquat used to be the medium of choice for suicide in Fiji when my sister lived there. Pretty horrible way to go I would have thought. Lesson is that is perfectly safe as long as you don’t drink it.

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  40. big bruv (14,156 comments) says:

    I was not living in NZ at the time but can anybody tell me if the Greens were up in arms when the Mowree terrorist Mike Smith chopped down the tree on one tree hill?

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  41. JC (973 comments) says:

    The story goes that the early missionaries in tropical Hawaii used to pull on the Long Johns every October.. just as the wet season arrived. Why? Because thats what they used to do back in the US as winter approached.

    There’s a similar mindset here with trees. Planners take their ideas from the Northern Hemisphere and transplant them here without considering the nature of the local tree growth. A pine or similar planted in NZ attains a diameter of over 20cm by age 8.. the same trees in the NH take 80-120 years to attain the same diameter!

    If you want a variety of trees in NZ towns and sections then you have to plan for that growth and either trim or fell on a regular basis.. this is particularly relevant when a newly planted tree can be 3-4 metres tall within 2-4 years and thus provides almost constant scenic, shelter and food values.

    Personally I find NZ natives fine but tending towards the boring if there’s too many.. I prefer plenty of variety to satisfy my tastes. As for knocking over a scraggly 200 year old Pohutukawa the same growth laws apply.. in good conditions a newly planted pohutukawa might be a full bushed out tree of 2 metres at age four.

    Finally, I planted an acacia in the back garden 23 years ago, when I felled it late last year its butt at ground level was over 1 metre in diameter and I got about five tonnes of superb firewood.

    JC

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  42. unaha-closp (1,180 comments) says:

    So tell me again, and slowly: we have a Government that in one breath is trying to find a way to cut greenhouse gas emissions, yet in the next is fast-tracking a law declaring open season on every urban tree in the land.

    Carbon sequestration rates of a tree changes (as does the tree survival rate) over its age, effective rate of urban existing forest sequestration increases by 1 – 2% per year. So Brian Rudmans argument has facile value, but:

    The main impact of blanket tree regulations is to discourage people from planting trees – in particular native trees or any tree which might grow to a decent height.

    If the costs the regulations impose on tree ownership are reducing the rate of new plantings by even 2% then this policy is an enviromental fail. Enviromental failure seems the more likely consequence.

    ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/pub/oiaf/1605/cdrom/pdf/sequester.pdf

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  43. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..A pine or similar planted in NZ..”

    who plants that weed..?..in an urban environment..?

    your thesis is flawed..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  44. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Maungakiekie to you, bruv.

    Half Tree Hill

    What I want to know
    Mike, is when
    and how our
    Maungakiekie
    became their
    One Tree Hill?

    What I want to know
    Mike is just how
    that one foreign tree
    became so valuable
    just how it came to be
    six months’ PD (PD = periodic detention)
    worth of tree?

    What I want to know
    Mike, is that value
    historical
    economical
    social
    political
    or spiritual
    value?
    Or is it just sentimental
    value perhaps just
    how dare that Maori do that
    value?

    What I want to know
    Mike is what
    the Pakeha called it
    before the one lone tree
    came along?
    Six Tree Hill?
    Five Tree
    Four Tree
    Three Tree
    Two Tree
    One Tree Hill?

    Well Mike nearly
    Nothing Tree Hill eh?
    Not to worry
    Half Tree Hill
    will have to do
    ’til you finish the job
    Mike.

    What I want to know
    Mike, do you still want me
    to write a handbook for the Maori revolution?
    Should I have
    a chapter perhaps on how to cut down trees?
    Properly that is.

    – Ross Nepia Himona

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  45. alex Masterley (1,523 comments) says:

    Brian, your 11:23. that was going to be my next comment.
    20 years ago an asssociate marked out a soccer pitch using the stuf, and some lime.
    The pitch stayed marked for about three years! It’s lethal stuff.
    With that in mind I’m off to do the rounds of the garage sales tomorrow!

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  46. Bok (740 comments) says:

    Tom Semmens
    if you dont know what you are talking abuo, it is better to keep your trap shut.
    “Actually Brian, what killed 200 people in Australia were insane zoning laws that allowed property developers to build sprawling suburbs in the middle of tinder dry bush in a country known for its weather extremes and bush fires.’
    Is the biggest lie I have read here for a while.

    Now Tom I was around the fire zone less than 3 weeks ago.

    There was no major developments built in forrest fire areas. Most of those killed lived slightly removed from their neighbors.

    In fact one acquaintance of ours lost 4 family members. They were greenies living in their alternative lifestyle sustainable house.

    They did not die because they were greenies, because developers built sprawling subdivisions or because some doimwit wats to score political points.

    The report is out go and read it before you spin your lies.

    Once again a greenie shows that they have no concept of conservation.

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  47. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    Why would you commit suicide in the most painful way possible? Seems a very stupid thing to do, but then, so is suicide in general I guess.

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  48. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Rudman cannot even get his facts right.

    He writes:

    His new Act classifies as urban – and therefore free of blanket controls – any property under 4,000 sq ms – the old ten acre block.

    Actually 4,000 sq m is an acre. The ten acre block is 4ha which is 40,000 sq m. Divide by 10 – 4000 sq m. One acre.

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  49. Bok (740 comments) says:

    Joe90 it pays to know the whole story. By the time the fires reached most of the places that had reduction burns
    the fire front was so large that breaching was inevitable. There is more than 500 submissions from fire professionals
    currently in front of the royal commission on Black saturday. News media has grabbed the utterances of three greenies on the fuel reduction
    and have been touting it as fact, while the commission has not even heard the submissions. I saw two that was back by some of the heaviest hitters in fire fighting (one from a private company the other from a research institution) that both stated that the fire developed it’s momentum in non reduction areas.

    Once a fire reaches a certain size and speed, there is very little the fire fighters can do, quickly. It becomes a task of slowly trying to bring the inferno under control.

    I did a documentary once where we interviewed a fire chief that cut his teeth on oil fires before moving into forrest protection.
    He was telling us that the heat buildup gets so great that water becomes virtually useless unless you have a never ending stream of highload planes and retardants just fail because of the quantity needed.

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  50. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Where did we find Tom, is it dipstick day or something. Despite living in a rural area I to have had words with councils with to much time on their hands and to little brain cells to comprehend the end results of their actions. We have several areas of native bush on the farm these have all been planted by the family. Several years ago the regional council payed me a visit and wanted to know if I wish to place a caveat ? (protection ?) on the bush areas for future generations. I asked if I could cut a tree down if I wanted timber in the future, oh no you can’t do that, I was politely told. So I told them to get into their car and they can piss off. Somewhat taken back they said that they could deem the area a significant area? and this would protect it from the chainsaw. I just laughed, pointing to land further down the river I said I planed to plant this out to, they smiled, but I said if you try and pull any more legal shit like you just suggested I will never plant another tree. These people are like the dipstick Tom who take great delight in telling us what will be done to our own property, idiots, in their fervor zeal to protect environment they are actually killing it but that’s socialism for you.

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  51. peterwn (3,307 comments) says:

    Christine Fletcher as a National MP put up a private bill in the 1993-1996 Parliament to provide ‘global’ protection for trees over a certain size. There was serious concern it would pass since Labour would have supported it and with her vote it would have got through. She supported Labour’s mandatory teacher’s registration private bill and it got through. She must have gone ga-ga at that time because she was a rising star and Environment select Committee chair (as far as I remember).

    Can’t remember which seat she had, but it disappeared under MMP I think and with her prior performance any list ranking would have been near the bottom. I think she gave up and successfully sought the Auckland Mayoralty instead.

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  52. joe90 (273 comments) says:

    Bok, The bushfire blame game: greenies, loggers or arsonists?

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  53. Brian Marshall (204 comments) says:

    I live in a conservation designated area in Upper Hutt. We went from having a law protecting all native trees with a trunk diameter of over 50cms, to all trees with a daimeter over 20cm.
    Anyway we had a leak in the main water line into the house and while digging up the concrete path about 8 metres away from a large conifer to find the leak,I found very large roots about to cause damage to electrical wires. Well I whipped that tree down before the rule change kicked. Stuff paying massive fees to try and even get permission to cut it down or even prune it with no guarentee we’ll be allowed.
    Currently the neigbour has a very ugly tree on the property border which had a botched pruning job done before either of us moved in, and we can’t cut it down without expenses permits obtained first. It’s friggen hideous and she’d most likely replant another tree but it’s stupid blanket restrictions like what hopefully get overturned, that need to be changed.

    Oh, and I planted four trees to replace the massive conifer, so it’s not like I hate trees or anything.

    (just had to edit, I originally typed a “conversation designated area” first up. Wouldn’t want to give the local council any extra ideas.

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  54. JC (973 comments) says:

    “..A pine or similar planted in NZ..”

    who plants that weed..?..in an urban environment..?

    your thesis is flawed..”

    “A pine or similar planted in NZ..” refers to that large family of conifers that have the characteristics of fast growth, large dimensions and are very prominent in our cities, towns and private sections. That includes good representation of over 100 pine and hundreds of different eucalyptus varieties.

    JC

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  55. Bok (740 comments) says:

    Joe90
    As i said the media here has taken a couple of greenies statements and turned it into news.
    The commission is still hearing submissions.

    Quoting Crickey is up there with quoting Wikipedia, go have a look at the royal commission’s schedule and list of submissions.

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  56. Bok (740 comments) says:

    And Joe90 have you actually read the link you supplied?
    They are squabbling over
    1) Who should do burns
    2) Who causes burns
    3) The fact that when Logging Industry does burns it does a half arsed job of it

    etc etc etc.

    How in god’s name does this relate to the fact that the ban on fuel rediction burns in the areas worst hit on Black Saturday, is being viewed as a substantial contributor to the disaster.
    And secondly even the greenie is complaining on that blog that the burns that is to labour intensive is not done for money reasons. So actually argues against your premise. It is still just like this a blog and a forum for opinion.

    And then finally most of the discussion is around 2003 events??!!??

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  57. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    talking of Councils etc. The Tip at silverstream in Lower Hutt now charges $25 for a trailer of garden waste and $15 for a car boot load. At that price I imagine more people will be stopping off along the Hutt River at night to do their drop-offs.

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  58. joe90 (273 comments) says:

    FFS Bok, I’m not ‘quoting’ anything but from the the outside looking in it appears to me that the professional fire fighters and forestry industry groups have had real concerns since the early eighties about bush fire strategies and have been pretty much ignored by both state and local government.

    I just think that it’s a bit rich to lay the blame at the feet of those who really had no idea about bush fire strategies while those who did understand and were speaking out were ignored.

    And what do you reckon the odds are Bok that in twenty five years or so when the past is all but a hazy memory there will another god awful disaster that will make Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday look like a chimney fire.

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  59. Bok (740 comments) says:

    The problem with the highjacked green’s logic is that it is fatally flawed. The environmental movement started with people with real concerns over the enviroment. Pretty soon it was jumped on as the popular cause and it attracted activists that were more interested in their own media than the enviroment.

    Take ambitious political activists and let them drive a cause that has become part of the popular culture, and very soon you have obscured the real message.

    The smartest people in the world gets swept up and falls once “critical mass” for an idea is reached. Ask Castro and Hitler. How was a failed painter able to get a whole nation to march to his beat. Or how does a country like Cuba surrender it rule to the likes of Che and Fidel.

    But that is politics, it is different. People don’t as a rule get sucked in…

    Oh really. For the Gen Y’s here it might be a bit long ago, but can I say Millenium Bug any-one?

    How about Bird Flu (or Asian Avian Influenza) as it was royally called.
    Aids was going to wipe out civilization now it is a chronic illness no longer a death sentence.

    That is why the population as a whole have been bamboozled. Because it can be.
    Celebrities buys Hybrid cars because – they are celebrities and their image is important.

    Cost to environment? Massive the “carbon footprint” to produce and the dangerous materials to dispose of at life end, far outstrips
    any environmental gains of owning one. I am a great fan of Chris Martin and he is (and I will forgive him for this, he is only an entertainer) a great prophet for the carbon trading AGW lobby… but has the highest amount of air miles of just about any-one else other than Al Gore.

    And so the flawed logic continues..

    Go to 99.9 percent of wealthy people’s houses or farms. What do you see? Old rusting cars on blocks? Maybe huge mountains of tyres, engine blocks and rubbish. Large areas filled with concrete perhaps?

    No you’ll see people who plant trees and flowers, lots of natives and exotics. Places to play. Green areas. 99% of the farmers I know have a serious tree planting programme in place. They have to, to protect their crops, provide shelter for their animals.

    We all want to live in a nice enviroment. All the sane ones prefers trees and bush to concrete walls.
    However, make it impossible for them to be able to plant trees without it coming back to bite them, and it stops. No more planting.
    And then the laws becomes the hybrid car of laws. It actually stops the process it is suppose to promote.

    My wife and myself spends most of our time in nature, we have the time and it has always been our passion. She has a saying about people and animals. That most people do not love the animals, they love the way the animals make them feel. And how they make them look. That is also unfortunately true about the rest of the enviroment.

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  60. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    Politics joe90 and Bok. Immediate benefits give more votes than long term benefits. Pretty environment now – lots of votes. Long term hazard reduction that stops fires in the future – no votes. Democracy has its problems.

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  61. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    I really don’t think that any developer worth his salt will cut down a good specimen of pohutukawa on the foreshore – they would generally add value to a section than diminish it. Simple supply and demand. That same developer wouldn’t hesitate to knock over a few pine trees or poplars in the same position, and unless newly planted they would be higher than 6m. The people purchasing the section would think it was a favour.

    I am actually surprised that people even worry about resource consent when dropping trees. I would probably have just done it without consent if I had to. Too late to save a tree when it’s already cut up for firewood…

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  62. Daniel Silva (10 comments) says:

    For the benefit of Tom, here is an abridged version of an open letter to the ecofascists of Waiheke. Interestingly, they are congratulating themselves on being able to retain blanket tree protection, on the grounds that they have no reticulated sewerage and are therefore not ‘urban’. This was apparently some sort of compromise brokerd by their clever young thing MP.

    An Open Letter to the Ecofascists of Waiheke

    So, you want a piece of my property. In one corner of it, there is one large and very old pohutukawa tree. You say that you like the tree. I do too. I love it during those brief weeks in early summer when it looks pretty, with all those red flowers. I like the soft red carpet that it leaves behind, when the last flowers are finally blown away by summer breezes. I even like the gnarled old trunk, especially on stormy winter nights. I like it so much that I installed a spotlight at the base of the tree.

    I have to confess that there are certain things about the tree that I do not like. You see, the tree is very old and, like you and I, it must eventually die. It is already doing that, bit by bit. Every now and then, a branch falls off it. Sometimes, it just crashes loudly on the ground, but once a branch hit the roof of the garden shed and another time it crushed a car parked on the driveway. On yet another occasion, a falling nearby tree missed killing a member of my family by a mere two metres, after bringing down live power lines.

    Still, life is full of risks and we must all manage them, as best as we can. Except that, in this case, I run the risk while you do the management – at my expense. You see, I am not free to decide when or how to trim my tree, or to cut it down altogether, even if I am advised by experts that it is a clear danger to me and my family. You have asserted the right to make those decisions for me. In doing so, you say that you are balancing my wishes and needs with those of the ‘environment’. I am only interested in protecting me and my family, but you have a much higher calling: you are saving the planet.

    The piece of jargon that you use to define a ‘scheduled tree’ is particularly meaningless: “In determining whether trees are worthy of recognition and protection as scheduled trees, they are evaluated against the following criteria: Arboricultural A. Spatial characteristic. An assessment of the height, girth and canopy spread of the tree.” For those of us not blessed with a degree in planning from Lincoln University, the phrase can be translated into English as follows: “We can schedule trees if they are big”.

    ‘Scheduling’ basically means that I can’t build anything under the tree, I can’t demolish it or even trim it. It means that the tree is yours, not mine. If I believe that my life is in danger, I must go to you and ask your permission to protect myself and my family and then pay fat fees to you and your hangers-on, like Council-approved arborists. All that, because my tree is big. Not because it is endangered, rare or in any other way remarkable. Just big.

    Of course you are perfectly entitled to hold views on what trees should and should not be cut. This is a free country and your right to hold and freely express those views is not questioned. Where I have a problem is when you start to impinge on my property rights using some specious arguments that you do not even bother to enunciate clearly.

    As it happens, I also have the right to express my views. I do not believe that you want to deprive me of my property rights out of any real concern for the ‘environment’ or any other such lofty ideals. What is really going on here was described by Russell Madden like this: “Generally, owners are allowed to retain title to the property under question but are prohibited from altering it in any way which does not follow some (usually ambiguous and frequently self-contradictory) governmental law or regulation. […] This type of titular ownership devoid of control fits the definition of that economic/political system known as fascism.”

    Yes, my dear environmentalist, you are as much of a fascist as those people that your grandfathers fought against seventy years ago. The fact that you dress up your collectivist ideology in green garb does not give you the high moral ground or make you any less of a fascist. It just means that you are an ecofascist. And I, for one, won’t let you forget it.

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  63. Bok (740 comments) says:

    Joe90
    Now you are changing the story again. The fact remains that (and this is undisputed ) one of the contributing factors was the high levels of fire fuel. We are talking about the ability to clear trees that are dangerous, away. Go back and read the tread again. The reason that people could not clear fuel away (burning is only one option – people used to be able to cut bush back to provide fire tracks and were able to remove scrub that was highly flammable). Greenies took over the councils and changed the laws… making the connection yet? Dont change the discussion to suit your purposes. We are talking about the affect a law change had on an outcome. This outcome. Was it the only reason? No. Did it start the fire? Of course not. Did it have an impact ? Yes.

    And now for something for you to think about

    “I just think that it’s a bit rich to lay the blame at the feet of those who really had no idea about bush fire strategies while those who did understand and were speaking out were ignored.”

    If you change the laws then you had better know the effect it will or could have. You yourself state that there was huge concerns since the eighties. In fact in 4 cases councils were challenged and once in court by people who knew about fire strategies and saw the folly of the laws. So no, it is not a bit rich. How would you react if National in NZ decide that as of tomorrow, you no longer need to train to be a surgeon? And as a result scores of people dies? Would you say it was important that they researched the law first?
    I mean just think how many extra operations we could have. The benefits are huge. Or how about let’s allow people to sell grog from their house. Just think how much fuel and traveling we would save by going to the sly grogger down the road. Stupid? Perhaps my examples are stupid but I am trying to make a point.

    And lastly. I never said you quoted anything. I said the link you supplied.

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  64. Bok (740 comments) says:

    Sorry I did say quoting wikipedia. I apologise.

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  65. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    I was not living in NZ at the time but can anybody tell me if the Greens were up in arms when the Mowree terrorist Mike Smith chopped down the tree on one tree hill?

    I wonder if he had a permit.

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  66. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Mike Smith chopped a tree that wasn’t his and a property developer does chop trees regularly that are HIS?

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  67. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Big Bruv
    WRT the greens on one tree hill – You mustn’t forget how Green candidate Gareth Hughes wife went on the Greens blog prior to the election and declared how much she, and her husband enjoyed doing damage to private property.
    I dont know if you recall it but whale did a piece on it

    The greens are self confessed fucken vandals – against anyone, or anything that represents opposition to their stand.

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  68. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    but isn’t that the left’s idea of democracy, they know better than everyone else, we just need educating and listen to their experts and we’ll come round in the end.
    I don’t accept their idea of democracy and neither does John Boscawen either.
    he’s having the first of many meetings up and down the country dealing to this very leftwinger attitude prevelent in parliament in the Mount Roskill electorate this Monday night, September 7th at 7.30pm. Hay Park School, 670 Richardson Road, Mt Roskill, Auckland.

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  69. Rich Prick (1,726 comments) says:

    Falafulu Fisi, if you happen to Mouldi, or claim to be, you can do that, scott free. No authority will touch you. It matters not that it wasn’t your property or designated, if you happen to be Mouldi. The rest of us have to live with the RMA, regional, district and city plans though.

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  70. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    Trouble with is in town when you have a 45m norfolk pine a few metres from your place and also your neighbours house you need someone with the right gear to cut it down. They wont touch job if the council has listed the tree. Out comes the paraquat again I’m afraid.

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  71. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    Boomers

    urban hippies

    fuck off.

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  72. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    I don’t think the issue is trees so much; trees shouldn’t be blocking the sun or view or cracking foundations. The issue is that you have a strong team and a weak team. The strong team is the cabal of developers banks real estate agents (inshore and off shore) and associated professions continually subdividing the urban environment and able to extract large profits. The weak team see their environment trashed and not much (if any benefit).
    A land tax such as has been discussed at the association of economists (Grimes and Coleman) would take the heat out of the issue.

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