17 Jun 2019

Hikurangi Forest Farms pleads guilty over debris damage in Tolaga Bay flooding

11:01 am on 17 June 2019

An East Coast forestry company has pleaded guilty to causing flood-borne debris damage in Tolaga Bay last year.

Tolaga Bay, heavy rain forced piles of wood onto farmland.

Heavy rain in Tolaga Bay forced piles of wood onto farmland in June 2018. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Gisborne District Council prosecuted 10 companies after after heavy rain washed piles of logs and debris on to roads and farmland during two storms in June 2018 causing millions of dollars in damage.

Hikurangi Forest Farms entered a not guilty plea in March to discharging contaminants into the environment in breach of its resource consent.

But at an Environment Court hearing in Auckland this morning it changed its plea to guilty.

Two further charges on land use restrictions have been withdrawn.

The company will be sentenced in Gisborne District Court on 1 October.

The remaining nine forestry companies will reappear in court in a few months time.