Recent news has reported the wanton destruction of several thousand seedlings and plants at Sanders Reserve, Paremoremo after thousands of hours of volunteer planting work by Rotary members, Conservation Volunteers NZ and many local supporters.
Included were 5611 plants funded by the Rotary Peace, Remembrance and Community Forests Trust (the Trust) via funds from the Ministry of Primary Industries.
The destruction followed a decision by the Upper Harbour Local Board based on their assertion the area planted was in conflict with the reserve’s management plan – a fact disputed by the Auckland Parks Service.
However, the Trust Chair, Russ Ballard said, "the Trust will ask the Auckland Council and the Upper Harbour Local Board to:
- Apologise to the community volunteers who gave of their time to provide a public amenity for the benefit of all, and
a. plant 5611 replacement native plants on a suitable site within the Reserve this coming winter at their cost,
b. refund Conservation Volunteers NZ, and indirectly the Trust, the direct cost of planting the original 5611 plants
The Trust Board expressed its shock at this act of ‘vandalism’ in the face of calls in NZ and internationally to increase tree planting to offset the effects of climate change. The Board was also appalled at the disrespect shown by the local board to the volunteers who planted the site and to those that funded the planting under a plan approved by the Auckland Council
The Trust Board is interested in a settlement of this saga that complies with a key Rotary principle of being ‘fair to all’, the volunteers who planted the site, Conservation Volunteers NZ who undertook the planting in good faith with the explicit approval of the Auckland Council Parks and to the funders of the planting, the Trust and the Ministry of Primary Industries
Russ Ballard said “It is clear to the Board, based on all information provided to us, that this unfortunate saga occurred due to a lack of clarity in governance arrangements between the Auckland Council and the Upper Harbour Local Board”.
Spokesperson : Russ Ballard