After consulting with the hapu and agreeing by resolution at a meeting of the Trustees on 2 August, Hikurangi Takiwa Trust made a submission on the proposed National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry – a copy of our submission is available to download here.
A plain English version of the submission might summarise it as follows:
Essentially at present the Council requires forest harvesters to have a range of systems in place to prevent debris from entering waterways (such as requiring a buffer zone around waterways so tree cutting is set back from the waterway and on slopes they have catchers to stop the stuff sliding down the hill and into streams) – and if the stuff does get into waterways then there needs to be mechanisms to catch the debris and remove it as soon as possible as the debris causes havoc to native species that live in the streams and as we know much of it can also end up on beaches.
There are also rules relating to how machinery is used and how soon areas must be replanted and whether some areas should not be replanted in pines for harvest but retired because future harvesting is likely to result in massive erosion for a couple of years after harvest, etc.
All of these rules are much stricter in Tairāwhiti than the rest of the country because of our unique geology and the way plantation forests were established after Cyclone Bola and the existing erosion problems we al know about.
Under the NES these rules would no longer apply to most of the land in the region and we’d get a much watered down version that might suit the central plateau but not here.
As we know the existing rules are still not adequately addressing the problems (the Council, industry, hapu reps and environmentalists) have been working on improving practices for a few years, and the cost to clean up the mess still created is increasing and being worn by ratepayers instead of the companies that make money from the process.
The other major concern is at present if a region wants to be GMO free then it can be (many are), the right of regions to do this is removed and given to the EPA (which has recently had a GE proponent appointed as its chair and has no Environmental Protection mandate in its purpose or responsibilities).
This is a summary of some of the main concerns, but there are a lot of technical and specific issues that are meaningful but dense. The full submission lays out the main concerns systematically with requested changes if the NES proceeds.