Following the various actions by the New Zealand Labour Government in 1999 and 2000 to prematurely curtail an environment court hearing of the application by Timberlands West Coast Ltd to sustainably manage 98,000 hectares of the state indigenous beech forest it was charged with managing, to remove beech forest sustainable management from the goals of the Company, and to rescind several contracts most notable of which was the West Coast Accord (by special Act of Parliament) without compensation to the private companies concerned, and to make a special grant of $NZ 120,000,000 to the 4 territorial councils and the regional council of the West Coast: the Primary Production Select Committee is to carry out a Parliamentary Inquiry into sustainable forest management.



Primary Production Committee

Damien O'Connor, Chairperson
Primary Production Committee
(04) 471-9160 Fax: 473-1562

Parliamentary select committee Inquiry into sustainable forestry management initiated

Wellington, New Zealand, 24 August 2000

The Primary Production Committee has initiated an inquiry into sustainable forestry management. A primary objective of this inquiry is to examine how confidence in New Zealand's indigenous wood industry can be secured and maintained.

Damien O'Connor, Chairperson of the committee said, "The Government's recent decisions on West Coast forests have raised important questions about the future of sustainable indigenous forest management in New Zealand. We said in our report on the 1998/99 Financial Review of Timberlands West Coast Limited, that we consider the wider issue of sustainable management of privately owned forests needs to be examined. The halting of Timberlands' harvesting of beech and rimu and the subsequent loss of experience and expertise will leave a gap in the institutional knowledge of sustainable forestry management."

At its meeting today, the committee confirmed the terms of reference for the inquiry. These are:
  1. To examine the sustainable management of privately owned indigenous forests and within this examination to consider:
    1. The scope and range of sustainable management plans.
    2. The processes and procedures for developing sustainable management plans.
    3. The relationship between sustainable management plans and sustainable management permits.
    4. The inter-relationship between sustainable management plans, the Resource Management Act 1991 and local government.
    5. The international credibility of sustainable management plans for privately owned indigenous forests in New Zealand.
    6. Consider the conditions or requirements placed on those wishing to harvest or market timber from native forests.
  2. To examine what restrictions, if any, should be placed on those wishing to completely remove native forests in favour of other land uses.
  3. To examine whether indigenous forest managers regardless of whether they are producing timber, should be required to demonstrate that they are managing their forests in a sustainable manner.
  4. To examine what the future role of the State should be in relation to indigenous forest management and research, given potentially wide role of native forest management (including planting) in relation to such objectives as landscape protection, erosion prevention, biodiversity conservation and timber production.
  5. To consider what policy or legislative mechanisms should be used to give effect to any findings of the inquiry.
  6. To report its findings and recommendations, if any, to the House of Representatives.

The committee will call for submissions later in the year; the closing date for submissions on the inquiry is 23 January 2001.