16 Feb 2024

Ernslaw One's forestry certification suspended over Tolaga Bay storm damage

12:34 pm on 16 February 2024
Logs wash up on Tolaga Bay beach after flooding in the area.

Logs wash up on Tolaga Bay beach after flooding in the area in June, 2018. Photo: Photo / John Boynton

Forestry company Ernslaw One has had its Forest Stewardship Council Certification suspended over damage in Tolaga Bay from its forests over Queen's Birthday weekend in 2018.

Most international markets require timber imports to carry the certification.

The Queen's Birthday storm caused masses of woody debris to flow down rivers and on to the beach, damaging homes, farms, roads and bridges and beaches.

A court earlier fined the company for breaching its resource consents in the storm lead-up.

The company said it was appealing the suspension.

When asked for a copy of the audit report, a spokesperson for the forest giant said Ernslaw was "not privy" to the findings of the report which led to its suspension, because the audit was carried into the third-party organisation which certified New Zealand forests for the Forest Stewardship Council (SGS) not into Ernslaw itself.

RNZ is seeking comment from SGS.

In October, RNZ reported FSC had ordered a Canadian expert to check out the New Zealand arm of international company SGS, which audits forestry on its behalf in New Zealand.

SGS also audited forestry service provider PF Olsen, another company fined over damage from forestry debris.

In an email, Ernslaw said it was engaging with SGS on how the suspension could be resolved.

"Remediation of the matters underpinning the suspension is well underway," it said.

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