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Fine for record over-harvest of indigenous timber

Fine for record over-harvest of indigenous timber

A West Coast man and company have been fined more than $130,000 after admitting what the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) says is the largest recorded over-harvest of indigenous timber in New Zealand since 1993.

Sawmiller Michael Jensen Hende, 33, was fined $36,398, including $15,000 for investigations costs and $2000 of solicitors’ costs in the Greymouth District Court on 5 August. Glacier Sawmilling, of which Mr Hende was a director and owner, was fined $97,797, including $15,000 for investigations and $2000 of solicitors’ costs.

MAF began an investigation in July 2009 after receiving information that the defendant had harvested and milled trees on two Westland properties. Both properties had been previously granted Sustainable Forest Management Permits allowing some harvesting.

The investigation revealed the defendant had harvested 587.695 cubic metres (113 trees) more than that allowed under the permits. Under the permits, the defendant had been entitled to harvest 372.567 cubic metres from the two properties.

It will take nearly 130 years for the forestry on both properties to recover from the over-harvesting, says MAF Compliance and Enforcement Director Geoff Allen.

“The judge recognised the seriousness of the offending and this is reflected in the level of the fines,” he says.

The offences represented the largest over-harvesting of indigenous forestry that MAF has documented since Part 3A of the Forests Act was enacted in 1993 to ensure the sustainable management of private indigenous forests.

“MAF view is that the laws relating to indigenous forests should be vigorously applied. We need forestry owners to comply in order to protect New Zealand’s natural resources and environment.”

ENDS

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