26 Nov 2019

Local iwi wary of Hicks Bay log barge proposal

5:47 pm on 26 November 2019

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou is urging the Forestry Minister to carefully consider the social, cultural and environmental impacts of a proposed log barging facility in Hicks Bay.

logging pine generic

Photo: 123RF

Shane Jones said if he was re-elected next year, he will push for special legislation to allow logs from the East Coast to be taken away by barges to Northland.

Dubbed a 'blue highway' out of Hicks Bay, Mr Jones said the proposal would be far more preferable to the high costs faced by forest owners forced to send their logs south to Gisborne or Napier.

However, it comes after the Wharekahika Hicks Bay community opposed a logging port proposal just a year ago.

Ngāti Porou chairman Selwyn Parata said there were benefits to the proposal such as the creation of new jobs.

But Mr Parata warned the proposal must allow for a full assessment of its overall impacts to the community.

"It is vital that the processes for these types of initiatives respects the mana of local hapū over their takutai moana, and other customary resources," he said.

"That is a bottom-line expectation when you are dealing with Ngāti Porou."

Mr Parata said that the Minister's proposal, if it proceeds, must allow for a full assessment of its overall impacts - social, cultural and environmental as well as economic.

"Yes, new jobs and prosperity will do a lot to improve conditions for our whanau at home. But, they are also concerned about their duties as kaitiaki, and the health of the fisheries and other resources they will pass on to their mokopuna."