Homeowner lives in fear of 'killer tree'

Homeowner lives in fear of 'killer tree'

An Auckland homeowner says he has no choice but to cut down a notable tree, despite failing to get permission from the Environment Court.

The Norfolk pine has caused tens of thousands of dollars' worth of damage and it's risking human life.

It's one of a pair of protected Norfolk pines, and one that James Gilderdale would love to keep, if it weren't constantly threatening to kill him.

"I'm very afraid of it to be honest," he says.

He describes the tree as if it's attacking the house with massive falling branches and cones like missiles.

"You can't even walk underneath it for fear that something's going to drop out and hit you and possibly kill you."

An Environment Court judge noted it created an "undeniable presence of risk to human life and property" but permission to cut it down was refused for technical reasons.

It's around 170 years old and 35 metres tall, but with falling branches and pinecones the size of pineapples, the owners say they've got no choice but to bring it down.

Over the past five years falling branches and giant cones have smashed up his roof, car and boat, even spearing through his living room while he was sitting there. He calls it "frightening" and "absolutely terrifying".

He says almost as terrifying is the cost. Legal fees and the removal have run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

"Eventually we've just had to go through all of this so we can sleep safely at night."

One thing he can be assured of is despite going ahead without resource consent, Auckland Council says it won't prosecute.

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