30 Jun 2014

Locals to remove trees - Runanga

7:17 am on 30 June 2014

A West Coast runanga is pushing for local operators to be given first option to remove native trees on conservation land.

Most roads have been cleared of fallen trees.

Storm damage from the April cyclone. Photo: SUPPLIED / Shona Rathgen

The trees were felled during April's big storm and last week parliament passed special legislation to allow the trees to be removed so they can be milled commercially.

The trees are in the rohe of Ngati Waewae, and Te Runanga o Ngati Waewae has been working closely with the Department of Conservation over the plan.

Its chair, Francois Tumahai, said given the trees were on the West Coast and the state of the region's economy, it was important local operators got first crack when it came to extracting the trees.

He said it would also be a dangerous job and they did not want cowboy operators coming in. He said health and safety must be a top priority.