Bring back general tree protection
All over Aotearoa, our big old trees are being cut down at an alarming rate. They need to be protected.
We face a climate and ecological crisis that puts all of our futures at risk, but especially our younger generations. As our towns and cities become more densely populated and green spaces disappear, people are losing touch with nature, and we’re losing the old trees that provide much needed resilience in the face of climate change and ecological collapse.
These big trees are home to kereru, tui, kotare and countless other birds and insects - and they provide a priceless community asset, a place of shelter, recreation and connection. They clean the air, they keep us cool in summer, they store carbon and they make great places to play.
Up to one third of Auckland's urban trees have been destroyed since the last National Government removed general tree protection in 2012.
The senseless destruction of part of an irreplaceable stand of old native trees at Canal Road in Avondale is just the most recent example of why we need to reinstate tree protection.
A community protest to halt any further felling has been ongoing there since 8 July 2020. The site, at 52-58 Canal Road, has a unique collection of native trees planted in the 1920s. Even though half have been cut down, over 23 significant trees remain including two rare black maire and a kawaka as well as other natives like totara, tawa, titoki, and puriri.
The protest began when local man William Lee stood in front of a wood chipper and refused to move shortly after the first trees were felled. Since then, many have joined him, dozens have sat in trees and stood watch by day and night, and six people have been arrested for peaceful protest.
The story has gained nationwide interest and inspired our call for bringing back general tree protection.