Forest company considers exiting from Marlborough

Friday 11 Dec 2020

A NZ forestry company barred from harvesting is considering leaving Marlborough after ending a court battle. Zindia Limited was stopped from processing its block in the Queen Charlotte Sound after the Marlborough District Council issued a cease and desist notice, saying it breached its resource consents.

The Environment Court overturned the council's orders, finding harvesting was allowed, but the notice was restored after the High Court ruled the Environment Court had “erred in its interpretation”. The company took its case to the Court of Appeal, which agreed in June to hear it, but the company later withdrew its application.

Zindia Limited’s managing director Jacob Mannothra said it could be time for the company to “bid goodbye” to Marlborough. “We’ll probably look at going overseas, because it's too hard here. No-one sticks together ... There's just no support,” Mannothra said.

“The [Court of Appeal] application was costing us thousands in legal fees ... It's better to cut our losses. It's a pity, but that's how it is.” Mannothra said the company’s footprint was “quite large”, employing about 250 people each time it shipped logs from Marlborough.

Council advocacy and practice integration manager Barbara Mead said by discontinuing the application, Zindia had accepted the High Court's decision, which concluded it needed a harvesting consent.

“It has a wider implication for us because [the determination] ... means permitted activities cannot be swept up into a resource consent and gain the protection of being a consented activity.”

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