EWC welcomes Government announcement, commits to continuing industry efforts to restore social license

03 August 2023

Eastland Wood Council – Te Kaunihera Pororakauo Te Tairāwhiti (EWC) in conjunction with member forestry companies today welcomes the Government’s response to the Ministerial Inquiry into Land Use following this summer’s devastating cyclones.

CEO of the Eastland Wood Council, Philip Hope says: “It is pleasing to see the Government coming to the table with today’s announcement that supports action around land use in Tairāwhiti.  Our industry has been working hard since these cyclones devastated Te Tairāwhiti, but we have been clear that while change is needed, we can’t achieve this on our own, and we need iwi and mana whenua, as well as central and local government to join us at the table.

“We are pleased to see dedicated staff being made available to better support Gisborne District Council as we continue to rebuild strong and enduring relationships through the cyclone recovery.

“The Ministerial Inquiry report provided a number of other recommendations and it’s pleasing to see that central government are supporting the industry’s desire to do better for our communities.

“Our members have already voluntarily adopted several of the recommendations, such as limiting clearcut sizes in some areas and implementing intensive wood removal plans for high at-risk slopes where appropriate.  Our members have taken measures on-board voluntarily as part of efforts to reduce future risks,” Mr Hope says.

“At the same time, we can’t ignore the difficult environment we are dealing with in Te Tairāwhiti and the unique challenges this presents.  Our region is erosion-prone, because of a combination of geology, slope steepness in many areas, landscape responding to native forest removal 150 years ago, high tectonic uplift, and weather patterns.

“Mitigating these risks will require a coordinated effort together with; iwi, mana whenua, other landowners, Gisborne District Council, Trust Tairāwhiti, government agencies and stakeholders.  I want to thank all of these stakeholders for their engagement with the industry so far.

“We welcome today’s announcement and look forward to continuing the work that is already underway and working together with our stakeholders on some of the longer-term solutions to make important changes to restore the trust of the public in our industry in Tairāwhiti.”