Free fruit snacks look set to become a perk for people enjoying Tauranga's parks and reserves, thanks to the city council's new tree management policy.

The policy, which takes a more liberal approach to the endless controversy around the protection of trees versus the rights of people impacted by trees, was passed by a vote of 9-1 yesterday. Councillor Bill Grainger opposed.

One of the key changes to emerge from public feedback was to give edible fruit trees a higher profile when choices were made about what type of tree should be planted.

"Kids won't have to flog fruit from Mr Wilson, they can flog it from the council," Cr Steve Morris said.

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Cr Morris welcomed the new policy, saying it brought a more balanced approach.

Public health agency Toi Te Ora Health persuaded the council to put more emphasis on edible planting, saying it supported community wellbeing by helping families to have free access to seasonal fruit.

Medical health officer Phil Shoemack saw fruit trees as an extension of initiatives already taken by the council to allow community gardens on reserves.

Dr Shoemack asked for the policy to recognise the value of edible planting.

Council strategic planner Emlyn Hatch said 8-10 of the 23 public submissions received were of a very good quality.

Grace Rd resident Keith Frenz succeeded in having a simple statement inserted into the start of the policy that it was about how the council managed trees and vegetation in public places. He said it was made clear from the Grace Rd and Neighbourhood Residents Association's appeal to the City Plan that trees in public places were not subject to plan rules.

"This means that some of the best trees of their type in New Zealand, some of the most historic and most important with regard to the heritage of Tauranga, had no protection. This is why this policy is so important."

Mr Frenz said the policy was the only framework to protect trees that belonged to the people of Tauranga.

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