2 Sep 2009

Forest landowners want 100-year-old dispute resolved

3:57 pm on 2 September 2009

Maori forest landowers say it's time for the Government to get real if it wants to solve a 100-year-old dispute.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is reviewing land covered by the South Island Landless Natives Act of 1906, known as SILNA.

Some 57,000 hectares of land was given to Maori as part of an economic redress for land taken unjustly.

The SILNA forests are now owned by more than 50,000 Maori.

At the first of five hui to discuss the future of the land, Invercargill-based SILNA land owners told MAF the Government should swap the land for more economically sustainable forests.

Owners say the land was never viable because it is isolated and covered in virgin native forest which cannot be exported unless it's sustainably managed.