In general, property owners have the discretion to remove trees from their properties subject to certain provisions, however it's important to get an evaluation done by a tree specialist prior to getting any work done in order to avoid possible legal action. It's also important to consider the effects of tree removal on the local neighbourhood.
On 4/9/2015 the general protection rules for trees within the urban environment (as per the Resource Management Act) were removed. However certain trees or groups of trees are protected as specified under district plans. In most NZ towns and cities there are rules to protect certain significant trees from being removed.
There remain a number of methods to protect trees in urban areas, including:
Trees in Auckland may be protected due to their historical significance, age, or cultural value, or topreserve the ecosystem around them by preventing erosion (such as coastal Pohutukawa trees).
As a general rule trees may be removed from council land when they are diseased, dead, or of significant danger to people or property. Trees may not be removed simply to preserve or create views, to reduce shade, or because of roosting birds.
Trees on private property are the owner's responsibility, however special rules apply to protected trees.
Trees are identified as being significant because they have particular botanical, heritage, amenity, landscape, cultural, ecological and/or environmental values.
A significant tree on private property may be removed if it is dead, has a loss of structural integrity where the defects cannot be rectified, or does not comply with airport protection rules.
In the Queenstown Lakes District trees are an important and valuable community asset that the Council works hard to protect