Tony Hay - OIR No. 3 – Health and Safety

Tony Hay made this Official Information request to Marlborough District Council

The request was refused by Marlborough District Council.

From: Tony Hay

Dear Marlborough District Council,

Please see Information posted in Tony Hay OIR No. 1 and 2 before proceeding.

My name is Tony Hay and I am the owner, along with my wife, of 42 Lakings Road, Springlands, Blenheim.

The 2016 Kaikoura earthquake magnitude 7.8 (Mw) occurred two minutes after midnight on 14 November 2016. Ruptures occurred on multiple faults and the earthquake has been described as the "most complex earthquake ever studied". The impact on Blenheim aqua filters and tree root systems can only be guessed at. What happens if we get another earthquake closer to home?

The Marlborough District Council (MDC) web site makes reference to earthquakes. “Marlborough lies within the highest earthquake risk zone in New Zealand. This is because the district is crossed by a series of fault lines associated with the relative movements of the tectonic plates beneath New Zealand and given the number of active faults that exist in Marlborough, earthquakes are a very real hazard. Although nothing can be done to prevent an earthquake from occurring, there are various ways in which the impact of earthquakes can be reduced”.

This can include trying to minimise the impact of earthquakes on the “fall zones” of trees because of the potential for differential horizontal and vertical movement and the potential for soil disturbance.

LINZ has reported that the earthquake resulted in significant vertical and horizontal movement in much of the northern part of the South Island. GNS also reported that the earthquake produced the strongest ground shaking in NZ. Hindawi has reported that the earthquake induced ground water changes on aquifers.

In my submissions to the Marlborough District Council for the removal of the trees I pointed out the impact that potentially would happen should one or both trees on council road reserve “the berm” to the south of my property come down. Since I sleep just 15 meters from impact I am rather concerned! The 2 oak trees are a disaster waiting to happen especially with the impact of climate change. It has been stated that normal climate conditions will escalate into a severe weather event with all the repercussions associated with that.

If one or both of the oak trees come down there is a potential “kill zone” of some 35 metres which will certainly do serious damage to my house, which is only 14 metres away. ML have stated that should their electricity transformer be destroyed then some 63 houses will lose power, live electricity lines will potentially be hazardous to the public, and there will be disruption while crews deal with the situation. To a lesser extent both the 2 adjacent properties to ours will suffer damage. I know the Springlands Retirement Village are concerned about the damage to their property at 44 Lakings Road which is currently rented out.

The potential removal of the trees would also solve the problem of leaves and roots blocking the drains, affecting sewerage and water pipes, as has already happened at 44 Lakings Road, and removing the hazard exiting from my property due to the footpath being partly obscured by a 1 metre wide tree trunk. I have to make virtually yearly requests to ML to have the MDC maintain clearance through the Pin Oak and Copper Beech trees for my power line as required by law.

I have also complained to Marlborough Roads (MR) as they have some responsibility here as the tree branches well and truly spread out over the road. A number of large branches have broken off and fallen onto the footpath in the past. Again, no correspondence addressing my concerns from MR, in fact, they just email the complains onto the MDC.

My Questions:

With the impact of climate change and the likelihood of a severe weather event occurring in Blenheim does the MDC take into account the health and safety of ratepayers in its decisions or are injuries and death just regarded as “collateral”?

Has the MDC undertaken an investigation of the impact of the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake to aquifer susceptibility to earthquakes and its impact of tree root systems in Blenheim?

Yours faithfully,

Tony Hay

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From: MDC
Marlborough District Council

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our customer service line on 03 520 7400 which is answered 24 hours a day,
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Customer Services

Marlborough District Council

Phone 03 520 7400


15 Seymour Street, PO Box 443

Blenheim 7240, New Zealand

[2][Marlborough District Council request email]



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From: Tony Quirk-8077
Marlborough District Council

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I refer to your email of 14 February and indicate that the information I
have received is as follows:


 1. The Tree Policy contains a number of references to the impact of
climate change into the risk posed by trees. These matters are
considered when making decisions about planting, maintaining or
removing trees.
 2. Parks and open spaces has not investigated aquifer susceptibility to
earthquakes and its impacts of tree root systems.


This completes the request.



Tony Quirk

District Secretary




Phone:   03 520 7400


15 Seymour Street, PO Box 443

Blenheim 7240, New Zealand

[2][email address]




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