HBFG Press Release

HBFG Press Release

4 AUGUST 2023

The Hawkes Bay Forestry Group (HBFG) in conjunction with its member forestry companies today welcome the Government’s response to the Ministerial Inquiry into Land Use that was requested following the devastating cyclones of past months.

Acting CEO of the Hawkes Bay Forestry Group, James Powrie says: “It is pleasing to see the Government producing today’s announcement which supports shared actions around land use in Hawkes Bay and on the East Coast.

Our industry has been working hard since these cyclones devastated land on parts of the East Coast and in Hawkes Bay.  We have been clear that change is needed, however, we need to work with central and local government, iwi and mana whenua, to achieve the necessary progress for our community.

“We are pleased to see recognition of the importance of mature relationships between councils and industry”.

“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”. Mr Powrie says.

“Our members have already voluntarily adopted several of the recommendations, including catchment management approaches to harvest planning and implementing risk-based wood removal for high-risk slopes”.

“As an industry, we are also repeating the Pakuratahi Land Use Study, starting in 2023, along with a range of stakeholders.  This follows the original study carried out in the 1990s, will promote research and educational opportunities in regard to forestry, farming and this time adds native forest restoration to the mix.”

“Work is also ongoing within our industry group to share learning to reduce the risk of infrastructure failure and to build more resilient forest management approaches for the future, with less risk beyond our boundaries”.

“That said, we need to reflect on the difficult environment we deal with in the steeper Hawkes Bay hill country and its unique challenges.  Our region has some very erosion-prone areas, due to its geology, slope, historic native forest removal, tectonic activity, and cyclical weather patterns.

“The challenges we face in our hills and on our flood plains have many roots, and the solutions require reference to science and wisdom and established knowledge about natural systems, and our weather systems”.

“Making the best decisions for land use with these challenges will require a coordinated effort together with; iwi, mana whenua, other landowners, Hawkes Bay Regional Council, government agencies and stakeholders. We wish to thank all of these stakeholders for their engagement with the industry to date”.

“We welcome today’s announcement and look forward to building on the strong collective mahi that has begun and working together with our stakeholders on some of the longer-term solutions.  This industry has more important changes to make to restore the trust of the public in Hawkes Bay”.