Protest over forestry 'mess' in Northland

10:52 am on 6 June 2018

Neighbours of a Northland forestry development want assurances it won't create the sort of mess the pine harvest has caused in Tolaga Bay.

Murray Armstrong.

Murray Armstrong. Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

A small group demonstrated near the site of the government's launch last week of a forestry joint-venture with Ngati Hine, near Ngawha.

Spokesperson Murray Armstrong said the most recent harvest littered the landscape with slash - or pine waste - and damaged local streams.

"All down here, it's all waterways, and it's just a mess," he said.

"It's destructive, the pines. If it was in manuka which everyone's going to for honey production, that's better than this."

Mr Armstrong said neighbours of the planned forestry venture were unaware that the government had signed a deal with Ngati Hine, his iwi - and they would have like to have been told about it.

The banner the protesters held accused both parties of "sneaking in".

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Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

"For one of our uncles who lives just down the road here, he will be affected by this but he hasn't been told anything," Mr Armstrong said.

The neighbours would like - at the very least - an assurance that local waterways will be protected this time around.

Ngati Hine leased its land to forestry companies for 25 years, and received a relatively poor return of under a million dollars.

The $6m grant from the Provincial Growth Fund, announced by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, will allow the iwi to replant pine and manuka on land it could not otherwise afford to put back into trees.

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