Mt Albert tree cull may be illegal

Clear-felling of exotic trees from Auckland’s volcanic cones may be illegal, according to information provided to us.

A total of 345 exotics on Mount Albert were to be cut down in a five-week project that was supposed to start on November 11, before pesky protesters got in the way.

Approximately 193 trees were felled on Mangere Mountain in March this year, over 100 trees were felled on Pigeon Mountain in April, and approximately 150 exotic trees were felled at Mount Wellington in May.

The legal problem stems from a reference to section 17 of the Reserves Act in the Mana Whenua o Tamaki Makaurau Collective Redress Act 2014.

That Act revokes the reservation of Mount Albert as a recreation reserve subject to the Reserves Act 1977, vests the fee simple estate of Mount Albert in the collective’s trustee, declares Mount Albert a reserve subject to Section 17 of the Reserves Act, and establishes the Maunga Authority as the administering body for the purposes of the Reserves Act.

Section 17 of the Reserves Act applies to recreation reserves which provide areas for recreation, sport, and the physical welfare and enjoyment of the public and the protection of the natural environment and beauty of the countryside.

The public is guaranteed freedom of entry while flora, fauna and wildlife should be managed and protected under the Wildlife Act 1953, and “those qualities of the reserve that contribute to the pleasantness, harmony and cohesion of the natural environment and to the better use and enjoyment of the reserve shall be conserved”.

The Tupuna Maunga Authority seems to think they can do whatever they like with “their” land, but the volcanic cones are still reserves for the benefit of everyone. While the authority has made it an issue of decolonisation by stripping all the mature exotics and replacing them with token native plantings, the issue is not really an issue of colonisation or decolonisation, but of good management and mutual respect.

109 complaints about Herald series

A total of 109 complaints were made about “Land of the Long White Cloud – confronting NZ’s colonial past”, a seven-part series published by the NZ Herald in the week of October 20, the Human Rights Commission confirmed on Friday.  

The series was a shocker, prompting reactions like “Despite their loudmouthed, righteous preaching and straw-manning against ‘hate speech’ and racism, the New Zealand Herald is now the publisher of a systematic, targeted anti-white crusading hit piece. How ironic.”

The commission, which was required to respond under the Official Information Act, was asked:

  1. The total number of complaints about the series,
  2. The total number of complaints about the anti-Pakeha bias of the series, and
  3. How the [Race Relations] Commissioner planned to respond to the complaints.

The commission said that the majority of the approaches received were specifically in relation to the anti-Pakeha bias of the series. The remainder of the approaches, fewer than five, were in relation to racist attacks on citizens of any race.

The commission avoided saying how the commissioner planned to respond by saying that complaints are dealt with by a complaints team, and It is “not appropriate for Commissioners to make public comments about complaints or take any action about matters that are the subject of current consideration by the complaints team”.

The commission also avoided doing anything for those 109 people who complained. Instead, it sent an email referring them to the Media Council.

Petitions update

Thank you to the 6370 people who have so far signed our petition to welcome the visit of the flotilla that includes the replica of the Endeavour that carried Captain James Cook here 250 years ago. The visit continues until Friday. We set up the petition to counter another petition to stop the visit, claiming it was racist. Our petition still may be signed at http://chng.it/jKMjXXMwGd

Our petition which asks Parliament to amend the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 to restore public ownership of the coastal area, put all claims through the High Court, and repeal customary marine title, while affirming customary rights has picked up 7659 signatures. We need your support. The petition may be signed at http://chng.it/stXwrrtFLY

Our petition to evict protesters at Ihumatao, and for the Government to allow both Te Kawerau a Maki and Fletchers to proceed with their lawful business, has collected 2734 signatures. If you have not done so already, please sign our petition at  http://chng.it/xPN6P55k

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