FAQs - The Law

1. Are there any laws about collecting seed from wild plants?

All plants, and their seeds, are protected by law when they grow on a reserve. Permission is required from the manager of the reserve to collect seed.  To collect seed on private land, contact the owner to seek permission.

2. How do I object to planning applications which I think will destroy populations of indigenous plants?

Contact your local council. Ask for, or download, a copy of the District Plan.  These are the rules that councils follow in order to assess proposals for development. Is the proposal in line with the District Plan? Make a submission and, if you have time, ask to be heard in person when there is a hearing. It is also a good idea to read the Regional Policy Statement which is a document which provides local councils with environmental guidance for writing District Plans.

3. Am I allowed to chop down a pohutukawa in my back garden?

Rules for removal of trees on private property are guided by rules and policies in the District Plan. Contact your local council to find out what the tree protection rules are for your area. The rules are for protecting significant trees from damage and needless removal.

4. Are indigenous plants legally protected?

In New Zealand plants are only protected when they occur on land which is legally protected. This includes all parks and reserves managed by the Department of Conservation.

5. Can I post seed of indigenous plants to my friends overseas?

While it is legal to post seeds out of New Zealand they may not be allowed into the overseas country so it is essential you check with the customs authority of that country (most will have websites). The only exception to this are plants listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Legislation. These plants are either banned totally from export or require a certificate to verify they are not collected from the wild.  Orchids and tree ferns are listed for New Zealand. Go to the full list.

This page last updated on 26 Sep 2012

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