Recently Jacob purchased a property in a seaside suburb of Wellington.  In the backyard there was a large Pohutukawa tree.  As the tree obscured the afternoon sun Jacob hired a chainsaw and cut it down.  Unfortunately for Jacob, as the tree was a native tree with a certain height and girth it was protected under the District Plan, and he needed to gain a resource consent before cutting it down.  He is now facing the possibility of legal action being taken against him and a hefty fine of up to $200,000!

In order to avoid this problem, if you have a native tree on your property and are doing any work on the tree, or around the tree where the roots might be, be sure to check with your local council to see whether your tree is protected, and whether you need any consents to undertake work.  Every area is different, but minor pruning work is usually allowed without resource consent.  It is also important to be aware that while some regions only protect trees of a certain size, others protect native trees of all sizes.  So play it safe; if you are working on or near your native tree contact your local council for advice.