EWC welcomes Ministerial inquiry

23 FEBRUARY 2023

The Eastland Wood Council (EWC) on behalf of its members, welcomes today’s announcement of a review into past and current land-use practices and the impact of woody debris, including forestry slash and sediment.

EWC CEO Philip Hope said: “We welcome this announcement, which provides a really clear path forward for the conversations we need to have about the future of forestry and all land use in Tairāwhiti. We welcome the Government’s commitment to work with our community and sector on this inquiry.

“We have supported the need for an inquiry from the start, and prior to Cyclone Gabrielle, the EWC was actively participating in work to establish an independent broad-based land use review.

“Right now, the focus of our members up and down the Coast is on supporting our communities with the immediate clean-up from this devastating weather event. None of us wanted to be back here so soon after Cyclone Hale. Our teams invested thousands of hours clearing up as much as we could from the last cyclone, so it’s heartbreaking to have to start again so soon.

“We have hundreds of kaimahi (staff) up and down the coast simply rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in to help wherever it’s needed – from deploying our heavy machinery to clear roads, farmland and beaches; working with local authorities to build new roads through our forestry blocks where public roads are damaged; and working alongside families to scrub out silt from their homes and businesses. The scale of this clean-up will take some time, however as an industry, we are committed to doing what it takes to support our community as we recover.

“But longer term, we know some things need to change. Across all land users in our region, we need to have a sensible conversation about how we can move forward and what role forestry plays in that future.”