9 Sep 2009

Govt backbencher challenges minister over trees

4:39 pm on 9 September 2009

A Government backbench MP has challenged a minister over the safeguarding of high value bush and trees, as resource management legislation makes its way through Parliament under urgency.

Clause 52 of the Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Bill allows property owners to cut down any trees at all on their property - unless they are listed in the council's district plan.

Opponents claim this will leave many trees unprotected.

National Party MP for Auckland Central Nicki Kaye asked minister Nick Smith how residents can be confident high value bush and trees will be protected.

Dr Smith told Parliament he will contact local councils to make sure they have a solid timetable in place for identifying trees that will be protected.

The minster says he wants to ensure that the community has input regarding those decisions.

Dr Smith's portfolios include the environment and climate change issues.