They are not your trees!

March 2nd, 2013 at 8:53 am by David Farrar

blogs at Red Alert:

Resolve is building to save our

Resolve is really building in West Auckland to stop National’s chainsaw massacre in the Waitakere Ranges.

Te Atatū Labour MP Phil Twyford, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Maryan Street, Councillors, Local Board representatives and ratepayers groups are all backing the community’s determination to save our trees – which together we surely will.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again every time this misinformation is promulgated.

THEY’RE NOT YOUR FUCKING TREES.

There has been absolutely no change in laws around trees on public or Council land.

The law change is around whether a home owner can trim or fell a tree that they own on their property.

And the law still allows Councils to protect individual trees of high value. What the law change does is stop Councils from doing blanket protection orders.

The misinformation and misleading language used on this issue is deliberate. The vast majority of the public don’t want to have to pay hundreds of dollars to Councils just for permission to trim their own trees.

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43 Responses to “They are not your trees!”

  1. Reid (16,082 comments) says:

    The misinformation and misleading language used on this issue is deliberate.

    What, you mean same as the misinformation and misleading language used on the gay marriage campaign by calling it “marriage-equality” and not mentioning the fact it allows gay couples to adopt? Which was in turn the same as the misinformation and misleading language they used on the anti-smacking bill?

    You mean that sort of misleading language? Well who’da thunk lefties would have EVER done that, ever?

    But seriously, how come it’s OK to use it in some places, and not OK to use it in others, depending on whether or not one approves of “the cause” in question?

    That just seems a tad inconsistent, to me. Far better I would have thought to adopt my approach, which is to point it out wherever and whenever they use it. After all, it’s always an execrable underarm tactic, wherever it’s used. And the lefties use it all the time, it’s SoP to them. This is merely example #956,439 in this term of Parliament alone.

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  2. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Let it go Reid

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  3. dog_eat_dog (760 comments) says:

    Actually Reid it’s very similar. No one ‘owns’ the concept of marriage either, despite what you might like to think.

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  4. Harriet (4,614 comments) says:

    I was thinking the same myself Reid.

    I at times feel sorry for the more honest gays[some of whom I know] who at times have people ask them some appalling questions based on lies out of LGBT HQ.

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  5. duggledog (1,424 comments) says:

    Labour – putting their nasty little thieving hands into my pocketses and interfering with my trees since I was a child

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  6. kowtow (7,895 comments) says:

    The state has taken “ownership” of marriage and many other ancient social instittutions ,like parenting and now seeks to mould it in its own image,for its own purposes.

    This is simply an extension of this notion that it owns our property too and can tell us what to do with it. Whether it’s trees or indeed your personal wealth.
    The state has given itself the power to over rule wills and the distribution of your property,all in the name of that oh so laudable concept “equality”.

    Citizens must not ignore this or “let it go”.

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  7. itstricky (1,689 comments) says:

    If the blanket law is removing, yes, that doesn’t stop (private) individual owners from felling. It also doesn’t stop (private) developers who own property, right? It’s about developers.

    It’s also about protecting one area. A designated heritage area and it surrounds. Part of a tourist attraction. A unique area. And a pride of the city. That includes thousands of trees that can’t have individual protection orders on them (think of the time involved).

    Once the flood gates are opened, what was a unique part of the city becomes just another sterlie hunk of monotonous, boring, block housing – just like the rest of the city/country fringe. Which is a shame.

    You have only had to travel overseas a few times and looked at some of the terrible outcomes in various places to know that we should protect what we have. I don’t see how adding one or two, unique, areas as exceptions or adjusting the law for those exceptions is such a terrible thing.

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  8. itstricky (1,689 comments) says:

    You mean that sort of misleading language?

    But seriously, how come it’s OK to use it in some places, and not OK to use it in others, depending on whether or not one approves of “the cause” in question?

    Agree. That is what a blog is about after all. Personal opinion wrapped thinly in a veil of “truth”.

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  9. Michael (899 comments) says:

    Labour have no concept of private property.

    These are the same people that stumped up $1 Billion to Toll for Kiwirail when the company was worthless – because lacking that concept of private ownership they just saw it as a big company, not realising that companies are not valued on size of operation but profit making ability. They’re the same people who stopped Singapore Airlines recapitalising Air NZ and instead bailed it out. The same people who would rather see major film productions moved away than have a clarification in law to correctly distinguish contractors from employees… (I could go on for hours)

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  10. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    But David – the fact that theyre not their trees has never stopped those of the left from thinking that they know best.

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  11. labrator (1,840 comments) says:

    I’m fine with convenants on land use as long as they existed when the land was purchased. Other people deciding what you can do with your land after you bought it is changing the contract of purchase. I’d be fine with moving into the Waitakeres and knowing there were protected trees on the land I was buying as it was understood at time of purchase. What would urk me is having to pay to ask permission to remove a tree. If the Waitakeres wanted to protect the trees, the cost of the system for authorising removal of those trees should be borne by the majority as it’s serving the majority.

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  12. Azeraph (603 comments) says:

    Harriet (1,208) Says:
    March 2nd, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I grew up around the queen gays and they never bothered with crap like LGBT, you were gay or not gay or Bi, trannies were in a category all unto themselves. Queen gays are the worst as they tend to be family wreckers with their fucked up persona’s, the only gay i respect is the straight acting gay who doesn’t have internal issues and knows what they are. The rest can jump off a cliff.

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  13. gump (1,541 comments) says:

    Amazing.

    A blog post about council regulations on trees sparks an argument about gay marriage.

    You people are weird.

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  14. itstricky (1,689 comments) says:

    labrator,

    Like your thinking. And yes that is to the heart of it, in a contractual fashion.

    If the Waitakeres wanted to protect the trees, the cost of the system for authorising removal of those trees should be borne by the majority as it’s serving the majority.

    And yes, so why could this area (or many others in the country) not be distinct, and have something such as this set up for it. I believe this is part of the beef – the legislation doesn’t cater for such things and, in doing so, opens a hole for important, vlunerable (developer owned) sites to be exploited.

    I guess further Council planning restrictions on development in the area to cater for that would then also spark riots from the other side of the fence.

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  15. itstricky (1,689 comments) says:

    You people are weird.

    Or obsessed.
    Or opinionated.
    Or antaganostic.
    Or something.

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  16. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    I never knew that you were a libertarian anarchist David.

    Trees are wonderful things and deserve our protection, especially in Titirangi. Speaking about misinformation the rules for most of the area are that you can get rid of any exotic tree less than 6 metres high or any native that is less than 6 metres high and is no more than 3 metres from your house. You can trim up to 20% of a tree each year. And applications for resource consent do not attract a fee, despite what you said.

    So there is already some flexibility.

    And why should trees be protected?

    There are three very good reasons.

    Firstly the area is stability sensitive. Cutting down trees and clearing bush could mean that you or your neighbour’s house slips down the hill.

    Secondly the trees form part of an organic whole. Like it or not every tree that is felled helps to undermine and weaken the forest.

    Thirdly the community very clearly wants to preserve the amenity that trees provide. Locals want this preserved.

    The Government’s proposal is totally unworkable and frankly crazy.

    There is not such thing as an absolute property right. Regulation occurs all the time where there is a common good to be protected. Except if the Government has its way for trees.

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  17. David Farrar (1,870 comments) says:

    I agree property rights are not absolute. But blanket protection order for trees are unjustified intrusion. If you really want to interfere with the right for a property owner to trim or fell a tree on their own property, then it isn’t asking too much for the Council to justify why that tree deserves protecting.

    The rules you cite sound bureaucratic nonsense that take no account of individual circumstances. The threshold to restrict what someone does on their own land should be considerable.

    If you like trees, go plant some. If I owned a section I’d plant heaps of trees. But you know what – I wouldn’t plant as many if planting trees means the Council gets to decide what I can do with them – not me.

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  18. alex (301 comments) says:

    Cunliffe was allowed to blog on Red Alert? Strange times indeed.

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  19. hj (6,670 comments) says:

    I blame the policy choice of increased population started under Cunliffe and Clark (the one the SWG say has work directly against the adjustments we needed to make),

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  20. alex Masterley (1,497 comments) says:

    Greg, In case you hadn’t noticed there are a shed load of trees in the Waitaks.
    Indeed las time I stood on top of Mt Eden I saw a hell of alot of trees in the central auckland area.
    Using terms such as chainsaw masacre is simply scaremongering.
    SOP for the Labour party and it’s happy band of travellers.

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  21. pq (728 comments) says:

    What I do when I want to trim or remove a tree on our section, is ring up my tree man, he comes round and does it.,, .. Once I got a visit from the poofter Council who said you can’t just cut down trees on your own property, and so I lit a fire then burned the branches.
    He said “we prosecute you go to jail’,.. I said make my week,
    then he went away. no come back at all, the neighbours wanted the trees down

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  22. scrubone (3,081 comments) says:

    Amazing.

    A blog post about council regulations on trees sparks an argument about gay marriage.

    You people are weird.

    The post is about using misleading language to promote one agenda. In this case it’s trees and DPF is against. Reid quite legitimately pointed out that DPF is “for” misleading language in another political campaign, that of so-called same sex marriage.

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  23. scrubone (3,081 comments) says:

    And why should trees be protected?

    Amazing that you’d use what is clearly a straw man on a thread that is about straw men.

    There are three very good reasons.

    Let’s see, shall we?

    Firstly the area is stability sensitive. Cutting down trees and clearing bush could mean that you or your neighbour’s house slips down the hill.

    If this is really a problem (and I have my severe doubts) then please explain why the campaign is for blanket protection, and not the ability to designate rules around slopes or specific areas?

    Secondly the trees form part of an organic whole. Like it or not every tree that is felled helps to undermine and weaken the forest.

    I’m struggling to find a serious retort to such an utterly silly statement. I’m not overly familiar with west Auckland, but I believe it’s a city, not a forest. If what you said is true, all those streets and houses have done so much damage that the trees there must have all died years ago.

    Thirdly the community very clearly wants to preserve the amenity that trees provide. Locals want this preserved.

    Classic – you explain the need for the law by explaining that there’s no need for the law. If the community wants trees, then the community won’t be cutting down it’s trees, will it?

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  24. PaulL (5,977 comments) says:

    And DPF has been consistently on the correct side of both issues.

    The government should have no right to tell you what you can do with your own trees.
    The government should have no right to tell you who you can or cannot marry.

    In the case of trees, the government can make ruling that some trees have benefit to those in the surrounding area. Since making that ruling is basically expropriating your personal rights, they should have a high bar. It makes sense to me that part of that bar is that they can’t just make blanket rulings, they should have to do the work to look at each individual situation. Rather than them blanket saying “all trees over xyz height, you can’t touch, if you don’t agree you do the work to prove that it’s OK”, they instead have to say “we’ve been and looked and your tree has special values that we want to protect”.

    In the case of marriage, the government can and does intervene in who you can marry for reasons of protecting people. You can’t marry a child, the law is protecting the child. You can’t be a bigamist, as that complicates the contractual relationships, you have to divorce your current spouse then marry the new one. They meet the test of public interest. But preventing you from marrying another adult because some people get offended by it – sorry, that’s not a high enough bar.

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  25. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    DPF

    If you really want to interfere with the right for a property owner to trim or fell a tree on their own property, then it isn’t asking too much for the Council to justify why that tree deserves protecting.

    There is a right to trim all trees. There is a very good reason to have blanket protection rules against felling because without them stability in the area would be a significant issue. We have rules about stormwater run off, why not have rules about trees which have a beneficial effect on stormwater run off and are nicer to look at than drains.

    The rules you cite sound bureaucratic nonsense that take no account of individual circumstances. The threshold to restrict what someone does on their own land should be considerable.

    I was replying to your original comment “[t]he vast majority of the public don’t want to have to pay hundreds of dollars to Councils just for permission to trim their own trees” to show that this is not the case. They don’t need a consent as long as they trim no more than 20% of the tree and there is no fee. There is further power to apply for a consent to get rid of trees that are otherwise protected.

    These rules are there to provide flexibility, just so that there is no absolute restriction on what landowners do with their property.

    @Scrubone

    The stability issue by itself I believe is more than enough to justify blanket tree protection rules. Come out and see the place sometime. On the street that I live in they are doing significant remedial work on the road to stop it collapsing and I am aware of two properties where remedial work is currently being done. Most of the area is hilly and steep. Subdivision limits have been set on the assumption that bush cover would be preserved.

    I see you are not overly familiar with West Auckland. I have lived in Titirangi for 25 years so I believe I can talk with some authority about the area.

    As for the amenity why would you keep your fingers crossed and hope that it is preserved. Why not act to preserve it.

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  26. Shunda barunda (2,966 comments) says:

    I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again every time this misinformation is promulgated.

    THEY’RE NOT YOUR FUCKING TREES.

    No, they’re not, but the realities of living in a community is something people take ownership over and in this regard the desire to protect the intrinsic appeal of an area is completely reasonable. Communities where people hold a certain pride usually result in significant volunteer labor, donated money, and an overall improvement in the environs, including maintaining value and saleability of property.

    There has been absolutely no change in laws around trees on public or Council land.

    Yet we have plenty of evidence that even those laws are being run roughshod over up and down the country.

    The law change is around whether a home owner can trim or fell a tree that they own on their property.

    And the law still allows Councils to protect individual trees of high value. What the law change does is stop Councils from doing blanket protection orders.

    And what is wrong with region specific blanket protection orders? We have councils all over the country forming rules on what cosmetic materials a home can be built in, and even what colour the coloursteel roof has to be in order to maintain some sort of cohesion in the surrounding area. So how is protecting trees in a leafy suburb any less important?

    The misinformation and misleading language used on this issue is deliberate. The vast majority of the public don’t want to have to pay hundreds of dollars to Councils just for permission to trim their own trees.

    Have you got any evidence that it does cost hundreds of dollars?

    What most likely happens is someone from the council comes around for a visit and 9 times out of 10 permission is granted for trimming or removal.
    A law that stops occasional neighborhood vandals is hardly a bad thing.

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  27. kowtow (7,895 comments) says:

    If property rights are not absolute then why are we driving so hard to make “equality” absolute?

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  28. PaulL (5,977 comments) says:

    Yes micky, that is where you’re part of the problem.

    We’ve provided a perfectly reasonable objection process for you to seek approval to trim more than 20% of your tree. And it doesn’t even cost you any money, just your time. So there’s no imposition here at all, and no reason you should complain. It’s just part of living in a society.

    Said by someone who clearly has plenty of spare time, and is quite happy to fight bureaucracy in order to do something that is reasonable. I’m also guessing that you probably own no trees of your own, so it seems quite reasonable to you that you should have the right to demand that others not do as they wish with their trees.

    And in the true spirit of socialists everywhere, you’d never consider that making rules like this might impact on how many trees people plant. Because the rule itself isn’t a problem at all, so there’s no reason that someone would make sure that all their trees stay below 6m to make sure they’re not caught by the rule. And nobody would plant fewer trees just in case they might want to change them later, because the rules themselves aren’t a problem. Unintended side effects don’t exist in socialist thought, and the power of government to do good is unlimited – just pass another law.

    Spectacular really, isn’t it. The lack of understanding of how the world works.

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  29. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (828 comments) says:

    Folks – Labour is winning the hearts and minds of the general public and is on its way to winning the 2014 election in a landslide.

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  30. Johnboy (15,537 comments) says:

    Once Global Warming really takes hold. :)

    They will be encouraging us to clear fell 30 metres round our homes like they do in OZ! :) :)

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  31. Johnboy (15,537 comments) says:

    One up for you Lord Cullen! :)

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  32. PaulL (5,977 comments) says:

    Yes, Sir Cullen. Quite true, and Labour should keep doing exactly what they’re doing since it’s such a clear winning strategy.

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  33. gravedodger (1,528 comments) says:

    Pressland you are a socialist control everything fuckwit.
    If the state wishes to put a railway, road or other infrastructure through my property they buy it on clear defined processes or compensate me for any loss in value.
    You and your “we know best brigade” want to have total control over my fucking trees yet have no concept that such action may forcibly remove value from my asset with zero compensation.
    The saddest bit is that you may, probably from excess time at the trough, someday own an asset and will be just as protective/possessive of its value from an equally ignorant naive bunch of serial dogooders using logic as inane as that which you are employing in this discussion.
    Get your thieving fingers off my wallet.

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  34. slijmbal (1,223 comments) says:

    It’s the blanket rules that are the issue. Auckland has an enormous amount of trees.

    Stupid rules making my trees public property mean people stop planting and looking after trees. When they brought in the rules on the Shore about specific sized pohutukawa within such and such a distance of the coast the chain saws ran wild before the rules came in to action. Prior to that we had Project Crimson (from memory), which had resulted in a significant increase in the numbers of pohutukawa planted. So the rules had the opposite effect, they reduced the number of pohutukawas.

    We live in amongst trees in bush. We let our land mimic the reserve we back on to. All natives except for the enormous Norfolk Pine on council land that scares the shit out of us as it will take out our house if it topples.

    The rules were don’t cut more than x% off a tree in a year or y% over 5 years and don’t cut it down at all without permission – all if above a certain height or diameter. Some of our natives can get to that size in under 10 years. If you want to chop it down then the standard response was anecdotally no. Preserve. So you then need to pay an arborist to prove why you could cut down your own tree.

    I had someone in to trim back trees that needed it and we had the council inspectors in within hours. I guess someone rang the council. What a waste of my money.

    As DPF says THEY ARE MY FUCKING TREES!

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  35. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    Greavedodger you obviously know as little about me as you know about the issue and about land values out west.

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  36. itstricky (1,689 comments) says:

    mickysavage – Agree with your initial three points.

    SB -: No, they’re not, but the realities of living in a community is something people take ownership over and in this regard the desire to protect the intrinsic appeal of an area is completely reasonable. Communities where people hold a certain pride usually result in significant volunteer labor, donated money, and an overall improvement in the environs, including maintaining value and saleability of property.

    Well said. When initially commenting, I fought off the urge to write:
    BUT IT IS THEIR FUCKING COMMUNITY
    I was figuring how many down votes I would get for that one and how many labels of being a commie for mearly mentioning the word “community” here. You’ve put that down in words in a succinct way that just about sums up what actually happens.

    DPF – you’re still talking about blanket rules as they apply to the whole country when this is clearly an issue about a specific area of national importance. Cunliffe is not ranting about reversing all the rules, just about what can be done in a particular area. Speak to the topic, please.

    PaulL – I’m also guessing that you probably own no trees of your own. The guy/girl said s/he’s lived in Titirangi for 25 years. I would make a wiiiillldddd guess that s/he has more than his fair share of trees. How many trees do you have in your desert? I’d call that a lack of basic reading comprehension and research, not a lack of understanding how the world works.

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  37. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    I agree property rights are not absolute.

    “The agreement of the parties cannot make that good which the law maketh void.” ~ Edward Coke.

    There is a difference between personal property and real property. Trees, like land, are real property, regardless of what a bunch of muppets in Wellington think about it. The Crown has a history of not respecting the rights of others.

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  38. PaulL (5,977 comments) says:

    itstricky: I did say it was a guess. Implying that I didn’t do any research, so no surprises there really.

    Plenty of trees at my place. And since I currently live in the People’s republic of Canberra, I am also constrained by idiotic rules like this. Our biggest tree is a bit overgrown, and has been dropping branches when under stress. It’s very difficult to get a permit to trim it, as you need to spend upwards of $1,000 for an arborist to explain to the council that it needs pruning. This Xmas just been one of the top branches came down, and knocked on to every branch below it, so it’s now half a tree. If I could have pruned it that wouldn’t have happened.

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  39. Shunda barunda (2,966 comments) says:

    “You and your “we know best brigade” want to have total control over my fucking trees yet have no concept that such action may forcibly remove value from my asset with zero compensation.”

    That’s a laugh, people pay me to plant trees around their properties to increase value, in fact, on a cost to benefit ratio for increasing property value, landscaping and planting trees is the best thing you can possibly do.

    The neighborhood arsehole that cuts a landmark tree down is one of the most established forms of belligerent prickery known to suburbia.

    A law that hinders arseholes is hardly a bad thing.

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  40. Johnboy (15,537 comments) says:

    So you are agin gay marriage then Shunda? :)

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  41. Shunda barunda (2,966 comments) says:

    :D

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  42. itstricky (1,689 comments) says:

    PaulL,

    Sure, you did write exactly “I guess” but you, of all people, should know that a blog is a medium that lacks any indication of emotion or tone. If I re-read your sentence:

    Said by someone who clearly has plenty of spare time, and is quite happy to fight bureaucracy in order to do something that is reasonable. I’m also guessing that you probably own no trees of your own…

    It still sounds completely condescending to me, and a bit of a rant off into how much you hate lefties rather than anything about the topic.

    Yes, we also share your frustrations with bureaucratic rubbish and the sheer cost of arborist related activites and it’s a shame that happened to you. I can see your point about uninteded consequences in there but how often does that happen?

    I, for one, would much rather just say “such is life” and have a little sigh about the process and the cost when I know that those same rules save a beautiful area of Auckland from, as Shunda delicately puts it again, one of suburbia’s established forms of belligerent prickery. I’d also put up with it in the happy knowledge that the children of tomorrow can experience what I did, rather than the alternatives.

    This is about a particular region of Auckland as well, remember. There are plenty of compromises in the middle ground here that still simplify the process/procedure.

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  43. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    A law that hinders arseholes is hardly a bad thing.

    And legislation that attempts to interfere with private property rights is a good thing?

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