Other sectors would not match forestry benefits

LETTER

Re: Forestry piles costs on local community, June 7 and reply June 8 Anne Salmond.

Your view on the East Coast forestry industry is rather simplistic. You carry on about the profits going overseas — why shouldn’t they? They are the ones who have poured money into the area in the first place by buying the land from local owners, planting and tending the trees using local labour, building infrastructure, harvesting and transporting the trees with local or locally-based contractors and using a community-owned port to ship them. And also paying rates to the GDC. Yes, they are ratepayers as well.

This is over a 20 to 30-year span where they have to take a risk that the logs are going to be worth enough to cover their costs.

Is that any different than a company like Xero bringing profits, if they make any, back to New Zealand?

Sure, there were subsidies to encourage trees to be planted. They would have to be higher if native trees were to be planted, with far less economic return.

Exactly what amenities and services have I, as a ratepayer, lost as a result of these subsidies?

A lot of people in this community benefit directly and indirectly from the forestry industry and this would not be replaced by horticulture — you can’t plant apples on steep hillsides — farming or tourism.

P.S. I’m not a mouthpiece of the industry. In fact, we have land that has already been and could be further directly affected by upstream forestry harvesting over the next five years or so, and will be looking for liability cover in case of a “Tolaga” repeat.

Bruce Graham

Re: Forestry piles costs on local community, June 7 and reply June 8 Anne Salmond.

Your view on the East Coast forestry industry is rather simplistic. You carry on about the profits going overseas — why shouldn’t they? They are the ones who have poured money into the area in the first place by buying the land from local owners, planting and tending the trees using local labour, building infrastructure, harvesting and transporting the trees with local or locally-based contractors and using a community-owned port to ship them. And also paying rates to the GDC. Yes, they are ratepayers as well.

This is over a 20 to 30-year span where they have to take a risk that the logs are going to be worth enough to cover their costs.

Is that any different than a company like Xero bringing profits, if they make any, back to New Zealand?

Sure, there were subsidies to encourage trees to be planted. They would have to be higher if native trees were to be planted, with far less economic return.

Exactly what amenities and services have I, as a ratepayer, lost as a result of these subsidies?

A lot of people in this community benefit directly and indirectly from the forestry industry and this would not be replaced by horticulture — you can’t plant apples on steep hillsides — farming or tourism.

P.S. I’m not a mouthpiece of the industry. In fact, we have land that has already been and could be further directly affected by upstream forestry harvesting over the next five years or so, and will be looking for liability cover in case of a “Tolaga” repeat.

Bruce Graham

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Manu Caddie - 2 months ago
If the 60 years of public subsidies funding science for the pine industry had been matched with investment in sustainable native tree commercialisation then those species would now be providing an equal or better economic return and improved biodiversity, freshwater quality and soil conservation outcomes.
The indigenous species part of what is now Scion was neglected for decades and is still the poor cousin to the pine and other exotic species dominating Crown research, now with substantial industry investment because they have an industry that can invest!

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