20 Aug 2023

Activists call on political parties to commit to protecting tree coverage

11:40 am on 20 August 2023
Zane Wedding in action

Zane Wedding of tree protection group Mana Rākau. Photo: supplied

Environmental advocates hope that a tree protection law will ensure the country's canopy recovers.

The passing of the Natural and Built Environment Bill voided a clause in the Resource Management Act which prohibited local councils from putting in place general tree protection.

Zane Wedding, from the tree protection community group Mana Rākau, said some places in Auckland had few trees and legal protection was required to make sure intensification of suburbs didn't reduce green spaces.

"In South Auckland, like Mangere and Otahuhu who have some of the lowest tree coverage in the world, it means that now we're seeing the intensification of these areas, that intensificaiton will mean that they won't be void of green spaces," he said.

A report released earlier in the year by Environment Commissioner Simon Upton found that since 1980, green space per-person fell by at least 30 percent in Auckland and more than 20 percent in Hamilton.

Wedding said there was support across the political spectrum for tree protection.

"We just need to make sure that no matter what government comes in, they hold firm to the beliefs of the people.

"That nature and specifically trees in New Zealand are incredibly valuable to the people of New Zealand."

To ensure protection laws were fully implemented, the group planned to deliver a 10,000-strong petition to Parliament after the election.

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