Adams blasts tree police

February 20th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Environment Minister Amy Adams has leapt to the defence of an elderly couple being prosecuted for felling and trimming native , saying the case shows why the Resource Management Act needs reform.

“Many rules around the country have slipped into nonsense territory,” Adams said after The Dominion Post reported on environmentalists Peter Standen, 77, and wife Diana, 74, of Otaki, being taken to court by Kapiti Coast District Council for felling and trimming seven trees they believed were rotten and dangerous.

“This couple has spent a lot of time caring for their environment and gone to the effort of getting an arborist,” Adams said.

“We are not talking about some yob with a chainsaw with a tree he did not like. They got a specialist saying they were dangerous… it appears so eminently sensible… the outcome seems ridiculous.

“Trees, indigenous or not, get old, diseased, die, can be dangerous. We are talking about a 70-year-old couple dealing with vegetation in their own backyard. Do we need a council to get so uppity about what seems like a very sensible reaction?”

She supported the right of councils to identify and protect significant trees but “blanket prohibition on every piece of vegetation of a certain sort with no allowances, exceptions, or recognition that people have the fundamental right to deal with their own property in a certain way is getting a bit crazy”.

More than a bit. Thankfully the law has now changed so such rules will be gone by September 2015. But that law change was opposed vigorously by Labour and Greens. They think property owners should have no rights over the trees on their property – that basically Councils can effectively take control of every tree in an area.

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52 Responses to “Adams blasts tree police”

  1. JMS (201 comments) says:

    The despicable, property-rights-violating RMA has now been around for 23 years.

    It is a slamming indictment of both major parties that this Act(which has made our country discernibly poorer) to this day remains virtually unchanged.

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  2. peterwn (2,938 comments) says:

    Has the Kapiti District Council not heard of ‘diversion’? If I lived there I would be wanting to put heat on the councillors.

    I have very strong reservations about environment judges dealing with ‘criminal’ matters under RMA. These judges generally do not deal with general criminal matters. I suspect that the environment judge will hit them with penalties out of proportion to those for general offending.

    As Annette King feels it is necessary to go up to that neck of the woods to ‘service’ (whatever that means) constituents, perhaps she could help that couple.

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  3. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  4. alex Masterley (1,439 comments) says:

    Peter, although the charges are laid under the rma they will be heard by the judge who happens to be sitting in Levin(?) that day. And diversion ought to be available.

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  5. igm (875 comments) says:

    ross69: You highlight your background once again: envy, losing, and a failure.

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  6. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    Thankfully the law has now changed so such rules will be gone by September 2015.

    Actually, councils will still be able to protect trees.

    http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/rma/tree-protection-urban-environments/html/index.html

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  7. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    You highlight your background once again: envy, losing, and a failure

    Such an erudite and insightful comment. :) Try sticking to the topic if you can.

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  8. lolitasbrother (353 comments) says:

    We have Geoffrey Palmer to thank for the RMA, then that wimp Simon Upton for enacting it.

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  9. wreck1080 (3,527 comments) says:

    Uhhh, tree police.

    The tree people are the kids who took horticulture at school instead of maths/sciences. Not a bad thing, society needs the low-skilled jobs such as rubbish collectors and cleaners and not everyone enjoys more academic pursuits.

    But, now these low-level council workers have been gifted with the powers of minor-gods and are enjoying the baubles of power by turning peoples lives to misery.

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  10. wreck1080 (3,527 comments) says:

    @lolitasbrother::

    Geoffrey Palmer has done immeasurable damage to this country. We would all be so much better off had he not been born.

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  11. Brian Smaller (3,915 comments) says:

    The owners bought a property and soon after butchered more than 70 trees. Maybe they bought the wrong property…

    Here is the thing about trees that you may not know. They grow. They age. They get disease. They die. What can be nice one year can be a danger, a menace or an eyesore a few years later.

    The KCDC is not a well loved entity on the Coast. This wont help.

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  12. flipper (3,273 comments) says:

    Lolita….

    Narcissism was Upton’s only strong point.

    The arrogant little shit lied to his caucus colleagues, and lied to the parliament. But the blue greens never had the balls to emasculate the RMA even when they became aware of the massive development anchor it had imposed on NZ.

    And as for idiots like Rossie69, if they were truly interested in growing the wealth of ALL New Zealanders they would have killed it stone dead when they had the opportunity. Instead they gave the local body and planning Nazis more power.

    Do you actually have a social conscience Roissie. or is it all socialist bullshit???

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  13. Sidey (231 comments) says:

    ross69 9:09 am
    The owners bought a property and son after butchered more than 70 trees. Maybe they bought the wrong property…

    Ever used paper? Tree butchering hypocrite.

    Spoken like a life-long renter.

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  14. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    Spoken like a life-long renter.

    Goodness, the vitriol is flowing this morning.

    Actually I own my property. :)

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  15. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    Fiefdoms of officous and arbitary Green tyranny – installed by Labour! :cool:

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  16. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    Here is the thing about trees that you may not know. They grow. They age. They get disease. They die. What can be nice one year can be a danger, a menace or an eyesore a few years later.

    True, Brian, but this particular property has (or had) a shitload of trees. The owners began attacking them within a short time after buying the property. They must be incredibly unlucky that dozens of trees suddenly deteriorated, all at the same time! I am sure they court will accept their bad luck…and ignorance of the law.

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  17. peterwn (2,938 comments) says:

    alex – while that may be the case, AFAIK the sentencing has to be carried out by a judge with an ‘environment’ warrant – which means the initial sitting is a waste of time – all it can do is to timetable a hearing for when an environment judge can be made available.

    Unfortunately as far as ‘diversion’ goes, it is only the police who make use of it. Council officials just spew out an arrogant unctious letter along the lines ‘… but no option but to prosecute …’ when of course they have the option to deal with it in other ways.

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  18. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    Fiefdoms of officous and arbitary Green tyranny – installed by Labour!

    Harriet, you must have missed the point that councils will still, after 2015, be able to protect trees. Clearly, National supports this position.

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  19. RightNow (6,348 comments) says:

    So ross69, you’re saying all those trees were healthy at the time they bought the property? How do you know?

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  20. NK (918 comments) says:

    The matter is before the courts so why is the Minister commenting on this matter? Is she trying to influence the decision of the courts? If the opposition did it would the peeps here be screaming blue murder?

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  21. Sidey (231 comments) says:

    RightNow – he’s making it up. Like when he says he owns his own house. If he did, he would believe in the right to do what you want with the property you have bought with your own money.

    Otherwise he’d live on a commune.

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  22. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    “…..Harriet, you must have missed the point that councils will still, after 2015, be able to protect trees. Clearly, National supports this position…..”

    I don’t support National……….they may support gays and trees on private property……..but not the property owning parents right to smack their wayward behaving children.

    Cut the ‘dead wood’ down to about half the size – as Mr Craig would say! :cool:

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  23. NK (918 comments) says:

    Harriet – does Mr Craig support private property rights? That’s weird, because I’m sure he wants the State to confiscate private land after 5 years ownership.

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  24. NK (918 comments) says:

    Is that you Harriet giving me a negative tick? Does the truth hurt? Why can’t you explain the inconsistency in the two positions of Mr Craig instead of just giving negative ticks (not that it bothers me).

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  25. isaac (9 comments) says:

    This “elderly couple” are young enough at heart to want to care for their property and have sought advice as to how to deal with aged and rotten trees. Any plant past its useby date is a weed. Trees need to be pruned and sometimes low pruning with a chainsaw is necessary. Good on them and ……… to the Horowhenua Council for acting unwisely. The neighbours also should be outed for poking their nose in where it might get cut off. Why would they not have visited the couple to express their concern and found out why the trees needed to be cut down.

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  26. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    “…….That’s weird, because I’m sure he wants the State to confiscate private land after 5 years ownership………Does the truth hurt? Why can’t you explain the inconsistency in the two positions of Mr Craig…….”

    Who’s land? Everyone’s?

    National currently confiscate land…..and sell it……..from productive people who make drugs on it.

    IMHO – but maybe not Mr Craig’s opinion – people holding productive land and not useing it should have it confiscated – or at least get taxed for wasting assets that others could use to be productive – as amongst other things, it helps keep inflation low.

    I believe that position is also the position of Sir Roger Douglas, as he made the case for something like that in his 2013 Alternative Budget Speech. Although I could be wrong. But I doubt that.

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  27. igm (875 comments) says:

    ross69: If you own your own property, how was it paid for? gifted, or wife provided? You show through your infantile and envious comments that when, and if, you ever worked, you were either a public servant, or union leecher.

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  28. RightNow (6,348 comments) says:

    @igm: my guess is he is/was working in local government, maybe even KCDC

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  29. jackinabox (352 comments) says:

    “Ever used paper? Tree butchering hypocrite.”

    The most ignorant comment I’ve read in quite a while.

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  30. jackinabox (352 comments) says:

    “If you own your own property, how was it paid for? gifted, or wife provided? You show through your infantile and envious comments that when, and if, you ever worked, you were either a public servant, or union leecher.”

    Another ignoramus vents his ignorance.

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  31. gazzmaniac (2,270 comments) says:

    isaac

    Good on them and ……… to the Horowhenua Council for acting unwisely

    I think the people of Otaki would love it if they could join Horowhenua (Levin) again. That council is very sensible compared to the Kapiti Coast District Council. The KCDC have far too much Wellington in their DNA.
    Just ask anyone who is building a house about their opinion on water tanks.

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  32. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    So ross69, you’re saying all those trees were healthy at the time they bought the property? How do you know?

    No, I’m saying it’s incredibly bad luck so many relevant trees were unhealthy at the same time, and also bad luck the owners were ignorant of the law. :)

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  33. gazzmaniac (2,270 comments) says:

    So it’s not possible that the trees were neglected by a previous owner and needed to be rectified by the new owner?

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  34. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    The matter is before the courts so why is the Minister commenting on this matter? Is she trying to influence the decision of the courts?

    Of course she is, but it’s OK when the Tories do it.

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  35. wreck1080 (3,527 comments) says:

    @ross69 ::

    Tories? Aren’t they UK rightwing politicians? I don’t think we have any.

    I don’t quite get you.

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  36. jackinabox (352 comments) says:

    “So it’s not possible that the trees were neglected by a previous owner and needed to be rectified by the new owner?”

    So what did native trees do prior to the arrival of humans, neglect themselves? Better cut down all the forests, they’ve been neglected!

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  37. RightNow (6,348 comments) says:

    @ross69
    “No, I’m saying it’s incredibly bad luck so many relevant trees were unhealthy at the same time” – or just the natural way of things

    “and also bad luck the owners were ignorant of the law.” – they’re environmentalists, what do they care about the law?

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  38. jackinabox (352 comments) says:

    “The matter is before the courts so why is the Minister commenting on this matter? Is she trying to influence the decision of the courts? If the opposition did it would the peeps here be screaming blue murder?”

    Anne Tolly or Judith Collins wouldn’t interfere in the courts’ process in that way would they?

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  39. Captain Pugwash (26 comments) says:

    This story reminds me of an incident a few years back. I almost got into some trouble for cutting down a Kauri at the front of my property in Karori. The kauri was only about 4 to 6 inches in diameter, but had grown to a height where it was interfering with the power lines. My wife (she who must be obeyed) decided the tree had to go, along with other trees she didn’t approve of, therefore proper authorization had been given & received.

    As I about to cut it down, an indignant prig, who happened to be visiting a neighbor, came rushing up to me saying “…that’s a Kauri, do you have permission? …”, to which I replied, “yes I do have permission, its all been properly authorized”. the indignant prig then proceeded to inform me that he was going to contact the council on Monday. Fortunately I had hired a wood chipper & stump grinder, therefore all evidence of the offending tree was removed by the end of the weekend.

    The following week a Nazi from the council came looking evidence of either harboring Jews or most likely chopping down Nazi protected trees or some such heinous crime. Fortunately by this time, all offending evidence had been mulched.

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  40. jackinabox (352 comments) says:

    Sounds like a made up story to me Captain. Did you show the “indignant prig” your “properly authorized” letter from the Council?

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  41. Captain Pugwash (26 comments) says:

    Read it again Jack… As I said it was properly authorized… by “she who must be obeyed”… there is no known higher authority than the wife on her own property, no paper work needed.

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  42. rangitoto (145 comments) says:

    “So what did native trees do prior to the arrival of humans”

    They rotted and fell to the forest floor killing anything unfortunate enough to be sitting under them at the time.

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  43. jackinabox (352 comments) says:

    Captain Pugwash (26 comments) says:

    February 20th, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Read it again Jack… As I said it was properly authorized… by “she who must be obeyed”… there is no known higher authority than the wife on her own property, no paper work needed.”

    So you’re a shameless law breaker too Puggy?

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  44. jackinabox (352 comments) says:

    “They rotted and fell to the forest floor killing anything unfortunate enough to be sitting under them at the time.”

    So if that’s your excuse for wanton vandalism rangi you wouldn’t mind if DOC cut down all the trees that MIGHT fall down on any unfortunate passer-by.

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  45. questions (132 comments) says:

    “Sidey (212 comments) says:
    February 20th, 2014 at 9:52 am
    RightNow – he’s making it up. Like when he says he owns his own house. If he did, he would believe in the right to do what you want with the property you have bought with your own money.

    Otherwise he’d live on a commune.”

    He clearly doesn’t because if he did he would be a worthless sack of shit, just like me

    Top quality argument there mate.

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  46. rangitoto (145 comments) says:

    “wouldn’t mind if DOC cut down all the trees that MIGHT fall down on any unfortunate passer-by”

    No need to get a govt dept involved. People can deal with any dangerous trees on their property themselves. We pay more than enough tax to support other peoples stuff ups as it is.

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  47. corrigenda (142 comments) says:

    The RMA is the biggest stumbling block (after the Greens) to any sort of progress in NZ. The local power board approached us a few years ago for permission for them to trim a cabbage tree on our boundary. I told them they had our permission provided they trimmed it AT GROUND LEVEL.

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  48. PTM (41 comments) says:

    Consider the current Council policocracy re paddling pools and the fencing thereof. A virtual panic to make sure kids in particular are kept safe from this form of danger in the backyard.
    Trees are no less a hazard when they get old and start to fall to bits, a bit like me in a way. Kids in particular love to see how high they can climb them and build forts in them. ACC and their fellow risk averse organisations are even more enthusiastic than the councils in their endeavours to limit the range of allowable risks we can ignore on our properties.
    It is hard to reconcile the variable attitudes that exist between these bodies. Particularly with the current moves to place the onus of responsibility on the individual to identify hazards and deal with them. I am not going to waste time and money getting a resource consent to remove a tree, native or non-native if it poses a hazard or is in the way and stopping me utilising the property.
    I am sure my insurance provider would also be getting out their magnifying glass to show me the small print should an event occur where property or people were unnecessarily compromised by what would amount to negligence on my part. And yes, I do own my property and it is host to regenerating native bush and 7 or 8000 odd non-native trees.

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  49. jackinabox (352 comments) says:

    Drop a few leaves now and then did it corrigenda? If it’s the slightest bit inconvenient kill it.

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  50. Steve (North Shore) (4,327 comments) says:

    Does anyone actualy know who in the Council is being a corksoaker? Name and shame them.
    The real dead wood is those in the Kapiti Council justifying their so called employment. Fat controllers.

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  51. Anthony (736 comments) says:

    Wellington only briefly had blanket rules protecting all trees of a certain size. Just as well as my section had several trees where I wanted to build the house.

    Strange how there are rules to stop buildings from blocking a neighbour’s sun but not trees!

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  52. Brian Smaller (3,915 comments) says:

    When I lived in the Hutt I chopped down a healthy and vigorous 40m tall Araucaria heterophylla on my property. Apparently in Auckland that would have been a no-no.

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