Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Give communities a say on tree removals, Auckland mayoral candidate Goff tells Titirangi residents

Auckland City mayoral candidate Phil Goff wanted to see consents to remove heritage trees publicly notified. Photo / Dean Purcell
Auckland City mayoral candidate Phil Goff wanted to see consents to remove heritage trees publicly notified. Photo / Dean Purcell

Titirangi residents have won the backing of mayoral candidate Phil Goff to have a say before trees are felled.

Goff told a "meet the mayors" meeting in Titirangi last night that he wanted to see consents to remove heritage trees publicly notified.

Six mayoral candidates were quizzed on their attitude to tree protection and how they would respond to recent cases in Titirangi to fell a 200-year-old kauri that led to a protester spending 13 days living in the tree, and police being called to a dispute this month over the felling of 12 native trees.

Goff told about 70 people at the meeting: "Anything that damages something inherently valuable to your community, whether it's a heritage tree or a heritage property, then I would want to see that notified so that people from that community can have a say on it."

To a question from Laingholm resident Janet Mays about tree protection after the removal of blanket protection by Government, Goff said something wider was needed than nominating specific trees for protection, probably at a central government level.

He has a policy to plant an additional one million trees, mostly native, in Auckland.

Mayoral candidate Mark Thomas said a solution was to give local boards more decision-making powers to intervene in tree removal, while former Green Party member David Hay spoke about his low carbon policy.

Chloe Swarbrick, a 22-year-old mayoral candidate, admitted she did not have the answer to the issue of native trees and kauri dieback but would bring people who have dedicated their lives to the issues into the conversation.

Another candidate, American-born John Palino, said his vision was having trees and a backyard, not about cutting up properties and trees in the suburbs.

He said Auckland was modelling itself on Los Angeles, one big brown patch you could fly over and actually count the number of trees.

- NZ Herald

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