You’ve got to marvel at the idiots they describe. These people seem to think that only The Government is protecting these poor trees – that the second any law change is past, each and ever land owner will pull out the chainsaw and get to work.
This attitude is so ignorant that it beggars descriptions. Do they ever realise that there are a great number of trees in this country that predate any protection at all? I wonder how they survived?
But there’s another side to protection.
I remember a few years back, when the government decided that farmers could no longer sell timber from native trees on their land.
What happened? Well, farmers overnight saw what was previously an asset fall to zero value. Instead of holding, say, 10 acres of valuable trees, they now had 10 acres of land locked up for nothing. So quite sensibly, farmers simply bulldozed into the nearest gully or cut them up into firewood for their own use. They then sowed the cleared land and ran sheep.
I also knew of one resident in Dunedin a few year ago who told me that trees beyond a certain diameter were automatically protected. Now, I don’t know if that was true or not, but I know for a fact that trees that might qualify on his property were dispatched in preemptive fashion. My acquaintance felt that it was better destroy a tree that might later need removing rather than keeping it and later be faced with the massive paperwork.
In fact, I once heard that Israel was once a very nice place to live – milk and honey and all that – until someone decided on a tree tax…
As they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. You can’t just protect (or tax) things and expect there to be no negative results.
Better to treat people like adults and let them realise the benefits themselves – you’d be suprised, most people actually like trees. They just don’t like being told they have to like them.