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Prosecutions for cutting down native trees

4 November 2008

Company and director prosecuted for cutting down native trees

MAF has successfully prosecuted a Northland milling company and its director for contravening an approval to harvest and mill native timber for personal use.

The company, Northland Kauri Limited, and the company’s managing director, Arthur Theodorus Bergman, were convicted in the Taumarunui District Court on 24 October 2008 of Forests Act offences relating to the contravention of a ‘Personal Use’ approval.

Bergman pleaded guilty to charges of harvesting and milling rimu and matai in excess of the volume approved. Approval had been granted to harvest and mill up to 50 cubic metres of rimu and matai at a property in Manson’s Siding near National Park.

The company was also convicted on a charge of failing to produce sawmilling records to a Forestry Officer, as required under the Forests Act.

The court sentenced the defendants to a total of $6000.00 in fines and costs.

Robert Miller, Operations Manager of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Sustainable Programmes directorate, said that the successful prosecution sends a strong message to others who harvest more native trees than they are entitled to.

“MAF takes breaches of the Forests Act very seriously. The successful prosecution emphasises that taking more than the approved amount will not be tolerated. All identified breaches will be investigated to ensure that the Forests Act is being adhered to.”

In this case, the landowner had earlier been convicted and fined in relation to the contravention. Further defendants have also been charged but they are yet to be dealt with by the Court.

Mr Miller said that the purpose of Part 3A of the Forests Act is to promote sustainable forest management of indigenous forest land.

“New Zealanders place significant value on our native forests – they are part of our cultural heritage. Therefore it is important that they are managed sustainably. The Forests Act is in place to ensure this. The findings of the Court in this particular case demonstrate this importance,” Mr Miller said.

ENDS

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