Promising signs for tree protection in new legislation

The Environment Select Committee has released its report and recommended amendments to the Natural and Built Environment Bill, which will replace the Resource Management Act.

Over the two rounds of consultation on the draft Bill supporters of The Tree Council and NZ Arb sent over 3,300 individual submissions to the Select Committee supporting the changes we recommended via our Stop the Chop campaign.

In addition, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment recently released a report highlighting how important trees and green space, and the benefits they provide, are for healthy cities. Also demonstrating how other cities around the world balance canopy cover, green space and intensive housing far better than we are currently doing in New Zealand. You can have both – and we should.

From the Select Committee report’s recommendations it appears the Select Committee has listened, for which we are very grateful, & the changes proposed are promising for a potentially significant improvement in the legislative regime for the protection of urban trees.

However, there is a long way yet to go. The Bill will have its second reading in Parliament on 24 July and then head to the Committee stage, before returning for its third and final reading before the end of August. The changes proposed by the Select Committee may not make it into the final Bill, so it is too early to say what the implications will be, but things look promising.

We want to sincerely thank everyone who made either one or two Stop the Chop submissions – they really have made an enormous impact – and enabled some cut through for the messages we have lobbied hard on. 

The Tree Council & NZ Arb have requested a meeting with Minister David Parker and if he agrees we will send a delegation to Wellington to lobby him directly on the content of the Bill before its final stages.

We will keep you posted on progress.

Photo: Scheduled camphor tree at 51 Wynyard Road, Mt Eden, Auckland by Sam Mahayni.