Three protesters have climbed a stand of pohutukawa trees being cut down today for a housing development in New Lynn.

A tree company this morning began cutting down about 20 pohutukawa trees on the former Crown Lynn site in the West Auckland suburb.

Locals and protesters arrived, three of whom, including Greenpeace climate campaigner Steve Abel, scaled the trees.

Jimmy is 70 and has scaled the tree to save it.

Posted by Save our Kauri on Sunday, December 13, 2015

New Lynn MP David Cunliffe is at the site, furious at the loss of the trees.

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Mr Cunliffe said he had received briefings about the housing development but no mention was made about the loss of the trees.

"Cutting down 20 pohutukawa in the middle of town is a very poor process. I'm absolutely appalled at what I'm looking at right now," Mr Cunliffe said.

Auckland Council's general manager of development in the city transformation office, John Dunshea, said: "The site has a qualifying development resource consent for 88 new dwellings. The trees, on private property, are not protected by the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, which are the relevant operative rules under the [Special Housing Areas] legislation. The removal of the trees is therefore a permitted activity in the Terrace Housing and Apartment Building zone.

"As part of the development the applicant has an approved landscape plan that shows significant planting and landscaping on the site."