Tree-felling trial starts
The trial of a Queenstown rich-lister charged with felling 110 native trees on a council reserve near Kaiteriteri began today in the Environment Court in Nelson.
Michael John Davies, an Arrowtown resident whose family is worth $90 million, faces two charges under the Reserves Act and the Resource Management Act for employing an arborist to cut down trees on a reserve on Stephens Bay headland managed by the Tasman District Council.
Davies owns property adjacent to the reserve, and the prosecution alleges that in February last year he employed arborists to cut down 110 native trees on the reserve without permission.
The trial began this morning with arborist Simon Carney, who was employed by Davies to complete landscaping work on his property, pleading guilty through counsel to one charge of contravening section 9(3) of the Resource Management Act by cutting down trees.
He had previously been expected to defend the charges. A similar charge under the Reserves Act was then withdrawn by the prosecution.
The case is expected to continue until Wednesday at the earliest.