IFU Put Beech Plans Through The Wringer

  • Tony Ryall
State Owned Enterprises

With two days remaining until the closing date for public comment on Timberlands West Coast's sustainable beech management plans, State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall today released papers analysing the draft beech plans which were submitted to the Indigenous Forestry Unit (IFU) for approval under the Forestry Act.

The IFU is an independent unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry charged with implementing the sustainable provisions of the Forests Act.

"Some people have suggested that the Indigenous Forestry Unit's analysis of Timberlands' draft beech plans was not robust," Mr Ryall said.

"These papers show that the IFU put Timberlands through the wringer when it considered the draft plans under the Forests Act (Part IIIA)."

The papers include two reports from the Department of Conservation and four reports prepared by the IFU review team.

"The clear impression on reading these documents is that the IFU pulled no punches. These papers contain some strong criticism of elements of Timberlands' draft beech plans," Mr Ryall said.

"Those issues were addressed by Timberlands in the revised beech plans which were re-submitted and subsequently approved by the IFU as sustainable and meeting the requirements of Part IIIA of the Forests Act.

"The papers also show that Timberlands provided a great deal more information in their draft plans than is required under the Forests Act. The complexity and scale of the plans meant that Timberlands was the subject of more expert analysis and criticism than any private forestry company has ever had to deal with.

"The Government's aim has been to run as open a process as possible in considering the beech plans. Releasing the plans and these papers is unprecedented.

"We want to make sure everyone who has a view on the plans has the chance to put forward their comments. To accommodate public requests and the recommendation of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment we extended the deadline by two weeks."

The deadline for public comments closes this Friday, 20 November.

The full plans are available at selected public libraries and on the Internet: (http://www.maf.govt.nz/Forestry).

A summary of the plans is available by writing to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry which is conducting the public comment process.

Mr Ryall said there are three key requirements which will have to be met before the Government decides to proceed with the sustainable beech production plans: the plans must be sustainable and based on single tree extraction, economically viable, and preserve the areas of highest conservation value.