A group of tree lovers fighting to keep rules stopping people from chopping trees of a certain size, says tree rules have sometimes been too tough on homeowners.

Tree Council chairwoman Sigrid Shayer said some cases where homeowners had not been allowed to cut trees had given the rules a bad name.

The group wants Auckland councils to review their criteria for deciding which trees can be chopped.

This could include raising the height for protected trees, limiting protection to certain species and changing the rules to take people's health into account.

The Government wants to ban councils from having rules protecting trees of a certain size or type.

Under proposed changes to the Resource Management Act, landowners could cut down any tree not listed in their local district plan.

Supporters of the change say it is needed to stop cases like that of Remuera lawyer John Woolley - whose tree took more than a year and more than $60,000 to remove after the Auckland City Council took his case to the High Court.

But conservation groups and some council officers say the decision on tree rules should be left to local communities.

Auckland City Councillor Doug Armstrong, who is part of a council group writing a submission on the proposed law change, said tree rules were trapping landowners who were trying to do the right thing by planting.

"If a person plants trees, and can prove it of course, they should have the right ... to correct their own mistakes," he said.

Mr Armstrong - who described himself as a tree lover who had planted more than 100 pohutukawa on his coastal property - said he had no problem with rules against chopping trees for people who had bought land with trees already on it. "If you don't like trees you don't have to buy the house."

Green MP Keith Locke said banning tree rules would only create more bureaucracy because councils would have to add thousands of pages to their district plans.

He said the Government was creating "a forest of red tape" by asking councils to list each tree they wanted to protect.

"Currently, the Auckland City Council District Plan has 33 pages identifying approximately 750 individual trees but covers tens of thousands more with just a few paragraphs," he said.

Auckland, North Shore, Waitakere and Manukau cities have schedules of protected trees in their district plans, as well as general rules covering trees of certain types and sizes.

The Tree Council said if the law was changed councils would be flooded with requests to list trees that were no longer covered by tree protection rules.

Auckland City Council said yesterday that it cost the council $500 to list each tree in the District Plan.

If someone from outside the council wanted to schedule a tree or a group of trees, they could request a private plan change and pay a deposit of $4480 followed by another fee of $1260.