Opponents of a proposed amendment to the Resource Management Act, that would allow property owners to cut down trees, say it will lead to native trees and large areas of bush disappearing overnight.
About 150 people attended a meeting in Grey Lynn, Auckland, on Tuesday night to express concern over clause 52 and formed a group, Stop the Chop.
If passed, property owners will be allowed to fell trees on their property, unless they are listed in their council's district plan.
Environment Minister Nick Smith says a ridiculous situation exists in some councils where 5000 resource consents are being processed each year, at a cost of about $1000 each, for pruning trees.
Dr Smith says the amendment won't give councils blanket protection but it will allow them to list trees they want to protect.