Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Questions raised over Gisborne District Council's forestry management in Whareratas

It is well known that the damaged culverts on the NGL were blocked by forestry slash washed off adjoining land and that this slash is repeatedly washed into waterways during flood events in the Gisborne region.

Merv Goodley of Mahia wrote a letter to the Gisborne Herald that is reproduced on the Napier-Gisborne-Railway.co.nz website (NGR Shortline Establishment Group). Like others he has asked sharp questions about the GDC failure to properly monitor and enforce proper land management policies on the likes of Juken Nissho.

In 2014 Kiwirail stated they would take action against a landowner following a washout of track on the Napier line caused by forestry slash washed down into a culvert under the track.

Thirty years ago I moved to Mahia on the corner of Mahanga and Kaiwaitau roads opposite the Kopuawhara Bridge.
Our property is a 16 acre lifestyle block which we have endlessly worked on. We have great neighbours and love the lifestyle.
To watch our neighbours suffer from unbelieveable quantities of pine slash that again came down from Juken NZ Ltd’s Wharerata forestry, and read a comment from Sheldon Drummond that this was “an act of God”, beggars belief.
The huge clean-up bill from the 2002 “act of God” event fell mainly on Wairoa District Council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council ratepayers, and impacted on the wetlands for years.
The Wairoa council has cleared the Kopuawhara Bridge of slash three times at ratepayer expense.  This time it will require a claw-type digger plus trucks to cart the slash away.  Why should this be at the expense of Wairoa?
Close inspection of this occurrence revealed 95 per cent is pine slash including hundreds of logs three to five metres long, some over 10m and clearly off skid sites with clean saw cuts both ends.
The log jam is 450m in length, 30m wide and 2m deep, Juken NZ has a digger on-site to clean up alongside two other machines, no doubt funded by the regional council.
How much did the regional council spend on the 2002 clean-up?  I believe the Juken NZ contribution was one digger and a few bundles of posts, while the rest was on us ratepayers.
My neighbour is Pah Nui dairy farm, milking 1500 cows.  Regional councils impose rules on dairy farms involving ongoing monitoring and compliance.  Pah Nui spent over $1.5 million in an effluent pond and strict monitoring conditions – fair enough.
Where is the control and monitoring of forestry?
Sheldon, through this column will you tell us the Juken NZ contribution towards the removal of this slash, and the intention for the balance above the bridge waiting to come down in the next flood?
I invite you, your executives, Meng Foon, Wairoa Mayor Craig Little, chief executive Fergus Power and regional council chairman Fenton Wilson to visit the site, meet at our place and see if we can find a solution to an ongoing nightmare and ecological disaster.
My neighbours are third generation farmers.  In time they may be forced from their home for events beyond their control, but well within control of others.
We accept flooding has to be managed in this location.  However, forestry slash is something new and only started to occur since the 1990’s.
What rules are placed on Juken NZ to ensure planting and logging practices do not result in slash spewing into streams and rivers after high rainfall?   What monitoring and compliance is carried out during and after logging forestry to ensure rules are working and being complied with?
To say that slash spewing into our rivers, clogging up waterways and inundating sensitive lagoons and estuaries is “an act of God” is gibberish.