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Police scramble to escape falling tree after Greens candidate climbs Auckland native in protest

Two police officers had to scramble to safety after they attempted to stop an Auckland man from climbing a native tree to protest its felling.

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Steve Abel leapt into one of the trees on Canal Street, Avondale, as contractor felled a tree nearby, sending police scrambling. Source: Adam Yates

The incident took place this morning at a section of land on Canal Road in Avondale.

Protestors have been calling on Auckland Council to stop the felling of 46 native trees on the site by developers.

The contentious site has now attracted protests, with Green Party candidate for New Lynn Steve Abel often leading the charge.

On Thursday last week he climbed into a tree at the site as contractors tried to cut them down, and received a trespass notice.

This morning, Mr Abel was filmed climbing into another tree as contractors felled the tree beside it.

In the video, the falling tree comes down just as two officers rush towards Mr Abel to try to prevent him from getting into the tree.

They can then be seen scrambling away, with one losing their footing and falling to the ground - luckily, the falling tree was caught by the branches of the tree Mr Abel had climbed.

The Resource Management Act was modified in 2012 so that blanket protections of trees in urban areas no longer applies.

Without any formal protection, trees on private land can legally be removed, regardless of their age or species.

A spokesperson for police said they are aware of the ongoing protest activity, and that police remain at the site "to monitor the situation".

"The role of police is to ensure the safety of all and uphold the law and we are liaising with both parties in this matter."