For­est sold to Amer­i­cans

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

The cut­ting rights to more than 5000 hectares of pub­lic for­est in the Welling­ton re­gion have been sold to Amer­i­can in­ter­ests.

Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil de­cided at its meet­ing on May 15 to sell the cut­ting rights to its met­ro­pol­i­tan and Wairarapa forests for the next 60 years to United States com­pany Re­source Man­age­ment Ser­vice LLC.

The coun­cil owns 3400 hectares of met­ro­pol­i­tan for­est around Welling­ton, which is ex­pected to yield about 90,000 tonnes of tim­ber each year, and 1700 hectares of for­est in the Wairarapa, which could pro­duce 30,000 tonnes a year.

The price will be de­cided at the end of June af­ter a stocktake.

Re­gional coun­cil chair­woman Fran Wilde said the coun­cil bought the forests a long time ago.

‘‘We’ve cleared the debt and got a lit­tle bit of money left over, but we still own the land,’’ she said.

In a cou­ple of for­est har­vest cy­cles a fu­ture coun­cil could de­cide what it wanted to do with the land, Ms Wilde said.

Har­vest sched­ul­ing, and where and how the tim­ber would be used would be at the dis­cre­tion of the buyer, she said.

‘‘ We hope they will put it through Cen­trePort,’’ she said.

The coun­cil has re­tained the right to re­strict log­ging at times of the week when the forests are used for recre­ational pur­poses, and to im­pose high health and safety stan­dards.

‘‘ There have been some un­ac­cept­able deaths, ba­si­cally,’’ she said.

Ms Wilde said she un­der­stood cut­ting sub­con­trac­tors would be hired lo­cally.

Photo: FAIR­FAX

Safety pre­cau­tions: Fran Wilde said high safety stan­dards had been im­posed on the Amer­i­can buy­ers of re­gional forests.

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