Nick Smith redeems himself a little

At WOBH we have long considered Nick Smith very, very suspect for his views on Manbearpig. But in todays Herald he writes the kind of opinion piece that makes us reckon it should be ?arise Sir Nick? after the New Years honours. He has got stuck into the liberal elite for causing a problem they have created by using laws to impose their will on the vast majority of normal Aucklanders.

Nick makes some very, very sensible points about reality. WOBH is big on both being sensible and being realistic. The tree idiots Stephen Franks talks about seem to have forgotten:

?The vast majority of councils around the country have not resorted to blanket tree protection rules because of the cost and bureaucracy. No such rules exist in Christchurch – the Garden City – Wellington or Hamilton, yet these cities have tens of thousands of beautiful trees providing public amenity, shelter and shade.?

Down in the socialist republic of Christchurch there are some very leafy areas but Mayor Bob doesn?t seem to have felt the need to implement rules protecting every tree over 3m, and the socialists in council also seem to have been busy fighting each other or promoting creeping socialism so haven’t got around to protecting trees. That may well change though if Lianne Dalziel decides to run.

There is no evidence that these blanket tree protection rules provide any more or a greater size of trees in communities. Council figures show that 97 per cent of consents for trimming and removal are granted.

Right. So we have created a bureaucracy for no reason at all?

Then Nick goes on to explain about reality. WOBH likes reality. Especially when reality is that tree owners actually like trees and can be trusted to keep them rather than chopping them down to pour more concrete.

The reality is that Aucklanders put huge value on trees on their property for shade, aesthetics and for privacy. Opponents do not realise the scale of the bureaucracy required to administer these rules. It is extraordinary that 5000 consents a year – 10 per cent of all consents processed under the RMA nationwide – are for tree trimming in councils that comprise only 21 per cent of our population.

Really? 10% of RMA consents for tree pruning and felling in Auckland? FFS? Does little Nikki Kaye know this? Or has she been having to many coffees out at Waiheke with Michelle Boag?

And then Nick points out to the council who is boss, and not to fuck around or he will be forced to sort them out.

There is concern that with the reform of Auckland governance over the next year councils will be distracted from doing this work. I will be monitoring this closely and if councils fail to progress this work, I will use my powers under the RMA to direct them.

Nick you might have done the right thing on trees but don?t think WOBH is declaring a truce in the war against Manbearpig.