Her name is Eloise Gibson and she has written articles with the following titles recently:
* Tree lovers fight to keep rules in the community
* Scenery priority on zig-zag bike track
* Law change 'may spur housing gold rush'
* Law changes could see open season on trees
* Knights and Dames: Will they accept or decline? [Possible new Knights and Dames]
* Drivers favour biofuel if it saves money
* Cruise ships' waste firm faces probe
* Sewage overflow closes Point England beach
* $11m plan to seal off toxic tips below parks
* 'Carbon cowboys' to face fines of up to $200k
* TV chief under fire after attack on critic
* Downturn hits waste industry
* Rare whale visit at Auckland beach [The Gray's beaked whale at Whale Cove]
* Medical mishaps blamed for 76 deaths
* Queen Mary 2 docks in Auckland [Queen Mary 2 sails into Auckland] [Your photos of the Queen Mary in Auckland]
* Recession prompts rethink on emissions
* Rain set to get blown away
* Environment budget cut will lead to job losses
* Opposition over resource bill
* In future show a grain of sense
* Fuel spillage still not cleared
* Door left ajar for 2018 Games
* Auckland's bid to host Games in jeopardy
* Poles apart but oceans have plenty in common
* Eco-town is where happiness blossoms
There is a clear environmentalist bent here. Is it time that the Herald openly declared that Ms Gibson is an environmentalist? Perhaps a blog or an opinion column would be more appropriate than a reporters' job?
Having first had a crack at a tree story under the headline 'Law changes could see open season on trees', she now tries again with 'Tree lovers fight to keep rules in the community'.
The first headline is an exaggeration at best. The second headline is simply misleading.
People quoted in the latest article are:
- Tree Council chairwoman Sigrid Shayer
- Auckland City Councillor Doug Armstrong who says "If you don't like trees you don't have to buy the house." and has presumably never had trouble finding a buyer for his
- Green MP Keith Locke
There is no quote from anyone in favour of sorting out the current mess (although there was one in the previous article).
At this point I want to declare that I'm a great tree lover, and I remember the anguish when our neighbours attacked their trees over three days. I had to leave the house because I couldn't stand the agony of the chain saws, and when it was done my initial reaction was to put our house on the market.
But private property rights should extend to chopping down trees. If councils want trees to stay, they should stop trying to encourage high density living, which is the real cause of trees going. Trees are a wonderful thing, but they are a luxury when space is short.
Getting back to our dodgy reporter, she states:
The Government wants to ban councils from having rules protecting trees of a certain size or type.
More correctly this says that the government wants to stop councils from banning people from chopping trees down on their own land without first looking at the tree and deciding if it is worth it. The current ban against removal is enforced by the council, not the government. The government was to remove the blanket ban, not create another. Only an environmentalist would see it in terms of banning a ban.
But the quote of the day has to go to the environmentalist party:
Green MP Keith Locke said banning tree rules would only create more
bureaucracy because councils would have to add thousands of pages to
their district plans.
He said the Government was creating "a forest of red tape" by asking councils to list each tree they wanted to protect.
It is wonderful to see that Mr Locke has come out against red tape. No doubt his support of the Electoral Finance Act was purely an oversight on his part. But in reality councils create the red tape. If they choose to deprive someone's property rights by banning them from chopping down a tree, this should require some effort and consideration on their part. A blanket ban is simply unfair.
Perhaps Eloise Gibson should expand her little black book and try to get out there and talk to a wider section of New Zealand. Perhaps a few stories on a little guy being crushed by an arrogant council, or the IRD driving someone to dispair. Balance within the article seems to elude her, but perhaps trying some different topics would work.