The forestry industry has objected to the ''entrenched
positions'' it perceived in recent Parliamentary debate
about allowing log salvage on the West Coast following
Cyclone Ita. Photo supplied.
Forestry is swiftly moving from a log boom to bust - with
hundreds of jobs at risk - and politicians should not be
arguing over whether to salvage West Coast logs felled by a
cyclone, industry leaders say.
The Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) has taken
a swipe at both National and Labour for taking ''entrenched
positions'' during Thursday's Parliamentary debate on
allowing the log salvage.
FICA's spokesman John Stulen said hundreds of temporary
forestry jobs could be created in processing the fallen West
Coast rimu forest where 20,000ha was flattened by Cyclone Ita
Mr Stulen said his members' view was that politicians on both
sides of the parliamentary chamber were arguing from
entrenched positions and were ''completely missing the point
about what has happened and how best to deal with the
outcome'', he said.
''Don't confuse native forest protection principles with the
need to clean up after a single adverse event.''
Federated Farmers West Coast provincial president Katie Milne
said she was ''staggered by the rhetoric'' of the
parliamentary debate and called for the ''natural calamity''
to be turned into jobs, if not new businesses.
''For heaven's sake, saplings need light to get away and
being smothered by thousands of wind-thrown trees isn't going
''Just leaving all those trees where they fell would be great
for gorse, blackberry and any number of noxious weeds,'' she
Mr Stulen said with the recent ''log exports boom turning to
a bust'' there were now plenty of logging workers in need of
The West Coast Windblown Timber (Conservation Lands) Act,
passed under urgency on Thursday, allows for the valuable
native timber to be salvaged and used. The law change was
needed because the Conservation Act had no provision for
timber recovery following an extreme event.
''The devastated native forest can be salvage-logged and then
replanted to help nurture and restore a protected native
forest as once was there,'' Mr Stulen said.
However, Dr Margaret Stanley, an ecology senior lecturer at
the University of Auckland, said while it might seem sensible
to remove dead trees, they were a ''vital'' part of the
forest ecosystem, The New Zealand Herald reported.
A rich biodiversity of species lived only on forest deadwood,
and decaying wood acted as a ''slow release'' fertiliser, the
main source of nutrients for new seedlings, she said.