Titirangi Kauri Protestor Convicted of Trespass

Media release

June 12, 2015

Titirangi Kauri Protester Sentenced

Kauri tree occupier Michael Tavares was today convicted of trespass, having pleaded guilty to the charge for the 81 hour protest in March this year. No sentence will be imposed upon Mr Tavares unless he appears before the courts in the next 12 months.

The situation that led to Mr Tavares’ occupation of the tree came after two years of attempts by local residents to engage with the landowners about their plans for the site. Consent for felling of the large Kauri and Rimu trees was granted on a non-notified basis, meaning the community and mana whenua were not given opportunity to have input.

When an open letter was received from the landowners on Thursday the 12th of March promising to leave the remaining trees standing, Michael descended from the Kauri tree and handed himself in to the New Lynn police station. Mr Tavares initially appeared in court on the 16th of April and again on the 1st of May where he pleaded guilty to the charge of trespass.

Today was Michael’s third and final appearance in court for this matter.

The Magistrate took into account the strong public interest in this case, the peaceful nature in which Mr Tavares undertook his protest about the removal of the tree, and so applied leniency. Mr Tavares will have a conviction recorded but no further sentencing applied unless he appears before a court for a similar matter in the next twelve months.

“I’m grateful that the magistrate applied leniency in this case, but I knew conviction was a possibility when I decided to occupy the tree. I take full responsibility for my actions, but have no regrets that the trees stay standing”

What’s needed now is for the landowners to meet with local residents and mana whenua and come to a resolution that suits everyone, whilst respecting the rights of those trees to stand for centuries to come.

Government’s approach to the RMA and Special Housing Areas for increasing the supply of housing in Auckland not the way

An Auckland University report last week found that only 6% of Auckland’s forest remains, and only 15% of that is protected.

“Aucklanders need to ask ourselves ‘what kind of city do we want?’ Do we want a city where a developer can buy a section in a bush living environment like the Waitakere Ranges then go about destroying part of what makes that place special?” Mr Tavares says.

“Its not environmental protection rules that are holding back housing supply in Auckland. It’s restrictions on density.”

“We won’t solve Auckland’s housing and transport crises by following Nick Smith’s vision of more sprawling suburbs at the city’s fringes, more choked motorways, and even weaker environmental protection laws.” Mr Tavares says.

“Do we want a city where central government enforced sprawl SHA suburbs cause the destruction of more native forest, like in Graham’s Bush in South Auckland or which are deeply opposed by and deeply disrespectful to the cultural heritage of local Iwi like Ihumatao near the airport?”

affordable housing it needs without creating more sprawl and congestion and without dishonouring our treaty partners. Auckland needs high quality intensification along world class public transport corridors. More houses, townhouses and apartments near train lines, busways and trams.”

Further removal of Auckland’s trees is not the way to solve Auckland’s housing issues.

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