Forestry company displayed high level of carelessness

5 November 2023
A forestry company that showed a “high level of carelessness” involving the use of heavy machinery in streambeds and leaving slash and debris on steep and erosion-prone slopes in Gisborne, should be fined NZ$84,000, the local council has told a judge.

Forwood Forest Management Ltd pleaded guilty to 11 charges laid by Gisborne District Council for breaches of the Resource Management Act resulting from offending that occurred between December 2021 and June 2022. The offending occurred in Papakorokoro Forest, a 287hectare plantation forest about 30km northwest of Gisborne, NZ.

The forest is on steep terrain that is prone to severe erosion, and includes three main streams, all of which flow into the Waipaoa River, which enters Poverty Bay near Gisborne. Since 2018, the forest has been owned by a Canadian company (Forestate Gisborne Holdings 2018 Ltd.), which employs a local agent to monitor harvesting activities in the forest. The harvesting and day-to-day management was carried out by Forwood.

The council was alerted to the offending by the local agent, who became concerned about Forwood’s practices. Council officers visited the forest in 2021 and on four occasions told Forwood director Matthew Strijbosch that they had concerns around general poor practice, including the large amount of slash left on slopes that were susceptible to rain flow.

The offending included the unlawful construction of roads and a stream crossing in the bed of the Mangaruaki Stream. The crossing was poorly built and at risk of failure, which would have seen material enter the stream and cause further erosion. The road failed to meet permitted standards and would also result in material entering the gully and stream.

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Source: Stuff