Gisborne District Council seeking feedback on future land use

Friday 14 Jun 2024

Moving towards more sustainable forestry and farming practices on our steep and erosion-prone land is at the forefront of environmental concerns in the Tairāwhiti region. Recent severe weather events have highlighted the urgent need to align land use practices on this land to protect our rivers and coastal environments.

Gisborne District Council Chief Executive, Nedine Thatcher Swann, says one of Council’s goals is to identify the worst eroding land across the region and transition it to permanent vegetation cover.

“However, we have a lot of work to do before we get to that point. Our community is well aware that during heavy rain events, our land and rivers face significant risks. For the last 10 years, forestry harvesting on steep and erosion-prone land followed by severe weather events has generated excessive sediment and woody debris in our waterways."

“The aftermath of cyclones Hale and Gabrielle in 2023 have revealed the limitations of the National Environmental Standard for Commercial Forestry (NES-CF) in addressing these risks for Tairāwhiti,” Ms Thatcher Swann said.

Since Cyclone Gabrielle there has been more than $16 million spent of central government money removing the large woody debris from rivers and other coastal areas in Tairāwhiti.

“The only way Council can manage land use sustainably is through the review of the Tairāwhiti Resource Management Plan (TRMP).”

Ms Thatcher Swann says because of the complexity of the issue, a multifaceted approach to improving our waterways has been proposed.

“Council’s approach is to establish long-term vegetation on slopes where clear-fell harvesting is simply not sustainable, while supporting plantation forestry on land where clear-fell harvesting regimes can be sustained.

Council is still in the early stages of consultation and feedback from the forestry sector, other stakeholders and the wider community and this will be considered before making decisions on the rule changes.

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Source: Gisborne District Council

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