NZ forestry company appeals fine

Friday 21 Aug 2020

A forestry company that claimed it had been unfairly singled out for its contribution to flood damage near Gisborne in 2018 storms has appealed a NZ$124,700 fine. DNS Forest Products 2009 Ltd was one of 10 companies prosecuted by Gisborne District Council following destruction wrought by tonnes of forestry waste that cascaded down valleys to the north of Gisborne in two storms in June 2018.

Two other companies had been dealt with for their offending. Juken New Zealand was fined $152,000 late last year. Aratu, formerly known as Hikurangi Forest Farms, was fined $379,000 in January. DNS pleaded guilty 10 days before it was to stand trial in February. Following that, the council withdrew charges against its alleged co-offenders, A and R Logging and Logic Forest Solutions.

The company held resource consent to harvest 398 hectares of pine trees from Makiri Forest, about 38 kilometres north of Gisborne in the headwaters of the Waihora Valley. DNS engaged A and R Logging to harvest the wood and build skid sites and roads between them. It hired Logic to oversee and audit the work and report back to DNS, which marketed and sold the logs.

Relationships between DNS and the parties deteriorated and in January 2018 A and R and Logic quit the site. When the storms hit five months later, they brought down massive amounts of forest waste onto neighbouring properties which blocked waterways, damaged roads and covered the coast in debris. Council investigations found that numerous failings in the Makiri Forest operation had led to forest waste washing down the valley.

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Source & photo: stuff

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