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MAF seizes $100,000 of logged rimu in Wairoa

24 March 2006

MAF seizes $100,000 of logged rimu in Wairoa

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has seized over two hundred cubic metres of rimu logs it believes have been illegally harvested from a property near Wairoa.

The Ministry’s Indigenous Forestry Unit (IFU) searched the property under a warrant and seized the logs which it believes were taken in a significant illegal over-harvest.

IFU Manager Rob Miller says his team has initiated a full investigation into the felling of the trees in the privately-owned forest and he expects that criminal charges will be considered on completion of the IFU’s investigations.

Mr Miller says the logs, which have a present value of around $100,000 and a potential sawn value of $300,000, have been moved into secure storage while investigations continue.

Harvesting of native timbers from private land is permitted under the Forests Act 1949 provided a sustainable forest management plan or permit is approved by the IFU and the harvesting is in accordance with that authority.

The IFU is currently clamping down on illegal harvesting and has been conducting operations in both the North and South Islands over recent months. These operations have resulted in MAF taking court proceedings and suspects facing criminal charges.

“New Zealand’s remaining indigenous forest is a scarce resource which must be protected,” Rob Miller says.

“Rimu is a valuable, highly sought after timber species. It takes over 200 years to mature and it doesn’t easily regenerate in many forest sites. Illegal harvesting threatens the future of this iconic native tree.”

Rob Miller says everyone in the industry including harvesters, millers, transporters and purchasers should be aware that their activities must be in compliance with the requirements of the Forests Act to ensure a sustainable resource for all.

The consequences for those who act outside the law can be costly as shown in 2005 when an offender was fined $56,000.


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