The government denied National Party List MP Maureen Pugh support for her Private Members’ Bill which would enable the harvesting of windblown trees on conservation land following adverse weather events.
“Today I moved a motion in Parliament, seeking support from Government MPs to have my bill adopted and set down for first reading next week. My bill would allow the Director General of DOC to authorise the removal of specified windblown trees on Conservation Land following a significant weather event,” Ms Pugh says.
“This a practical bill which embraces environmental responsibility and supports regional economic development.”
The proposed Adverse Weather Timber Recovery on Conservation Lands Bill follows on from the legislation implemented following tropical Cyclone Ita in 2014, which saw a number of native forests in the West Coast and Tasman severely impacted.
“This 2014 legislation was supported right through the process by local MP Damien O’Connor and his Labour colleague Rino Tirikatene. These two MPs saw the need for this legislation at the time, but it is disappointing the Government didn’t take a similar pragmatic approach today when they denied my motion to introduce the bill.
“Removing and processing these windblown trees which would otherwise lie decomposing on the West Coast forest floor would provide jobs for region along with clearing space for native regeneration – two areas which NZ First claims to be passionate about.
“Recent Cyclones Gita and Fehi have made this bill necessary, as large quantities of trees were felled. We need to be prepared by implementing legislation to deal with significant events like this in the future.”
The West Coast lost a lot of jobs when the previous Labour-led government axed the sustainable logging of native trees.
The National-led government introduced legislation to allow wind blown timber to be recovered after a big storm in 2014.
Pugh’s Bill seeks to allow that to continue.
If the government is serious about regional development, it should support this bill.
Removing and processing windblown trees would be much for employment, the environment and the West Coast and wider economy than the waste to energy project which experts advised should not be funded.