Can the Unitary Plan protect our urban bush?

This page is under development - it does not necessarily reflect the views of the LRB Management Committee.

It is easy to put protection labels on our urban bush - for example an SEA (Significant Ecological Area) designation.

But, as you can see, this sign, applied to a tree by an Auckland developer in terms of the subdivision approval didn't save the tree from damage. 

We don't know whether the tree died from windthrow, disease or accidental damage from earth moving equipment.  But it is one tree that a planning commission aimed to protect that is now lost.

When bush clad properties come on the market, it raises serious concerns amongst neighbours who value their tree clad suburb for the quiet beauty, the fresh ozone atmosphere, the flora and fauna.

They have observed the bush protection zone on their property. They value the bush clad hillside on the other side of the stream.

But they are faced with the possibility of a developer moving in with massive earth movers and diggers stripping the clay bare.

The old Urban Bush Protection zones of the North Shore City Council district scheme provided some protection for decades. Local elected representatives had some measure of influence over the outcomes under the rules that they had fought to put in place.

However, from 2010, the ball game has changed.  Commissioners with no stake in the community make decisions based on applications from developers with no stake in the community based on a new set of rules under the Unitary Plan which is about to be deliberated on by a group of government appointed commissioners.

The property at 95C Hinemoa Street Birkenhead is now up for tender.

It is 12,000 square metres of south facing bush clad land sloping down towards the south west arm of the Little Shoal Bay wetland - said to be the largest raupo wetland on the North Shore and part of the beautiful Le Roys Bush which is unique in rising from the sea up to one of the highest hills on the North Shore.

(Acknowledgement: from Bayley's web page:

Most of 95C is covered by an SEA overlay under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

Land around Le Roys Bush and the Little Shoal Bay wetland rated highly for its ecological significance.

How well will the SEA protect the bush cover once a planning application comes from the purchaser to Council?

This page has been set up to ask those questions and to look for answers.

Please keep an eye on this page. 
If you'd like to help us investigate these issues and to maximise the protection of these last remnants of native bush for our grandchildren, please email us at