8 Oct 2010

Closure of forest opposed

10:03 am on 8 October 2010

United Future leader Peter Dunne says denying public access to the trout fishery of the Kaingaroa Forest puts the whole country's outdoor heritage at risk.

A public meeting in Murupara on Thursday attracted more than 100 people, concerned about a planned summer closure of forestry roads. They included hunters, anglers, Fish & Game and Rotorua MP Todd McClay.

Last summer, Timberlands prevented vehicle access from October to April, citing fire safety concerns.

The forestry company says it will do the same this year, allowing vehicle access only if the fire risk remains low for extended periods.

Mr Dunne says the move sets a dangerous precendent.

Motel owner Simon Mossman says Timberlands has acted without public consultation.

But Timberlands says it has the right under its Crown Forest licences, to control access for the purposes of health and safety and the protection of assets.