Media release: for immediate release 17 August 2023
The Tree Council is delighted that the Government’s Natural and Built Environment Bill has passed its third and final reading and will become law.
The Bill was significantly amended as a result of the thousands of submissions received by the Environment Select Committee calling for urban tree protection to be reinstated – and finally after 11 years in which mature trees have been decimated in our cities – this has been done.
The new law will require councils to make rules in the District and Unitary Plans to protect trees on private land as well as on public land.
The Tree Council and New Zealand Arboricultural Association (NZ Arb) ran two successful publicity campaigns calling for the public to make submissions to the select committee asking for urban tree protection to be restored. The response was incredible and over 3,300 individual submissions were made via the Stop the Chop website over the two rounds of consultation.
The Tree Council’s Chair Sean Freeman said “Thanks to our thousands of supporters the Government has listened to the call to reinstate urban tree protection into law. This is a hugely significant day for Aotearoa New Zealand. Future generations will now have the opportunity to live in cities that benefit from the many services provided by mature trees and they will be happier and healthier as a result. The risk of flooding and pollution will be reduced and the mitigation of the effects of climate change will be enhanced.”
“The Tree Council thanks the Government for listening and to our supporters and everyone who made a submission for responding to the call. You have all made an enormous difference. The pressure is now on our councils to implement these changes into planning documents as quickly as possible before we lose any more of our urban forests. You can have both intensified urban living and mature trees when urban design is done well. New Zealanders deserve both.”
Notes:*In a period of 10 days in August 2021 the Stop the Chop website www.stopthechop.co.nz collected and sent 2,348 individual submissions from all over the country to the Environment Select Committee supporting The Tree Council and NZ Arboricultural Association’s joint submission, and explaining why protection of trees on private land in urban areas is a priority for inclusion in the proposed Natural and Built Environment Bill. A further 1000 submissions were made via Stop the Chop during the second round of consultation in January 2023.