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MAF welcomes fine for unregistered sawmill

29 Novemeber 2006


MAF welcomes fine for unregistered sawmill

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) welcomes the sentence handed down on Monday in the Wanganui District Court to Peter Michael Knuth for using an unregistered sawmill to mill indigenous timber.

On two separate occasions in March 2005 MAF officers visited a Wanganui property and found evidence that an unregistered portable sawmill had been in operation. The officers could find no record of any certificate of registration being issued to the defendant Knuth or David (Tuffy) Churton, the owner of the timber.

Approximately 9.5 cubic metres of sawn timber was seized by MAF. The timber was subsequently sold by the Indigenous Forestry Unit (IFU) as it was considered likely to spoil.

Indigenous timber may only be milled in registered mills after consent is granted by the IFU; and then only timber from registered sustainable forest management plans, permits or other approved sources may be legally milled on it.

The defendant admitted he knew the mill should be registered and that it was not. He was fined $3000.

MAF’s Indigenous Forestry Unit manager, Rob Miller, said that harvesting and milling indigenous timber without the appropriate consent threatens the sustainability of New Zealand’s private indigenous forests.

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

Mr Miller said 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.

While some operators were attempting to profit through illegal logging methods, the majority of indigenous forest owners in the country who harvest timber manage their forests responsibly, Rob Miller said. The Forests Act provides forest owners with a number of options for harvesting and managing forests sustainably and the IFU is happy to provide advice and assistance to forest owners free of charge about these options.

ENDS

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