Landowners in Wellington are receiving all around regulations intended to shield natural biodiversity on private land by chopping down trees and clearing indigenous bush.

The Wellington Metropolis Council is poised to include things like new policies for Significant All-natural Regions (SNAs) as section of its new district program, which will necessarily mean Wellingtonians with uncommon or threatened indigenous ecosystems on their residence will come across them selves unable to crystal clear or produce it.

Major Pure Regions were very first introduced in the Useful resource Management Act in 1991, with councils billed with determining and defending spots with major spots of indigenous biodiversity.

The new district strategy is established to arrive into result in July, immediately after which time inhabitants will have to find the elimination or alteration of the SNA classification if they want to make changes to their land – irrespective of whether it be building a home, or pulling out a shrub.

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Kaiwharawhara resident and property developer Brent Slater has been told he can't build on a section of regenerating bush on his property, thanks to new Significant Natural Area (SNA) classifications set to come into effect later this year.


Kaiwharawhara resident and home developer Brent Slater has been informed he won’t be able to create on a segment of regenerating bush on his home, many thanks to new Significant Natural Location (SNA) classifications set to occur into influence later this year.

Brent Slater owns a 4000-square-metre segment in Kaiwharawhara, with harbour sights and an spot of regenerating native bush established to be protected as an SNA.

Slater called it “theft by stealth”, with ideas to make a next home on the “million-dollar site” set to be scuppered by the limitations.

“The generation of SNAs is an admirable concept which would extend the city belt in Wellington for long run generations to get pleasure from, but it should not be brought in at the cost of a couple of.”

Meanwhile, neighbours were being getting out of these restrictions by removing the vegetation in advance of the safety could be utilized. “Four of them obtained chainsaws for Christmas,” Slater explained.

A snapshot of the council's map, which is part of the public-facing information campaign Backyard Tāonga, shows the extent of the areas to be classed as SNAs across Wellington.


A snapshot of the council’s map, which is aspect of the public-struggling with info campaign Yard Tāonga, demonstrates the extent of the regions to be classed as SNAs throughout Wellington.

Mayoral applicant and founder of the SNA Wellington Committee, Barbara McKenzie, stated persons had been unhappy to clear away indigenous biodiversity from their homes, but felt they experienced no decision.

“People are in a quandary,” she said. “They want the possibility [to build later]. They could have a baby who could build there, or want to place in a granny flat in 10 years’ time.”

Stuff has observed e-mail between council team and one more resident about getting rid of native vegetation, stating “such choices are yours to make”.

Some of Brent Slater’s neighbours have resorted to cutting down trees before they are protected.


Some of Brent Slater’s neighbours have resorted to reducing down trees ahead of they are shielded.

Council chief scheduling officer Liam Hodgetts said there were no authorized repercussions for landowners who chose to take away vegetation until the district plan was finalised afterwards this calendar year.

Officers had never ever encouraged or implied that vegetation ought to be eradicated. “However at this issue in time it is not illegal to get rid of it.”

Community engagement on SNAs commenced in 2019 “to permit lots of time to get the job done one particular on a person with affected landowners”, and make it possible for landowners to obstacle ecology assessments, Hodgetts stated.

The area of regenerating bush in front of the house was earmarked for a new house with a “million-dollar view”, which won’t be able to go ahead if SNA restrictions are placed upon it.


The spot of regenerating bush in entrance of the dwelling was earmarked for a new household with a “million-greenback view”, which will not be in a position to go in advance if SNA limits are put on it.

“We intentionally took this intensive technique to engagement due to the fact we understood that there was a opportunity danger that folks could shift to eliminate SNAs even though it was still legal to do so. As a end result we have not witnessed a rush to get rid of vegetation.”

Following examining submissions on the district system, the council was drafting amendments to the guidelines to make it possible for much more adaptability for particular things to do in just an SNA with out the need to have for resource consent.

Forest & Chicken spokesperson Amelia Geary mentioned many crucial ecosystems had been practically totally limited to personal land, and landowners and councils should really operate collectively to guard regions in which regionally scarce or threatened plants or animals had been still observed – “special spots [which] have normally been appeared following by preceding and current landowners, that’s why they however exist”.

“Habitat decline is one particular of the most important threats to New Zealand’s wildlife so it is significant that we look soon after the important spots we have remaining, no matter if they’re on public or private land.”