Primary Industries associate minister Jo Goodhew visits Whanganui forests

8 July 2015

Damage from late-June's flooding is still being felt by forest owners north of Whanganui.

Associate Minister for Primary Industries Jo Goodhew visited Grennoch and McNabb Forests, north-east of Whanganui to meet with owners and forestry experts.She said seeing the flood and rain's fallout had affirmed her belief in the importance of fighting erosion. "They took me to a number of different areas and also pointed out what is quite-obvious erosion in places that are actually in pasture... and loss of tree stock. "We are very much in the stage of trying to get handle on what the damage is."

She said most of the tree stock lost during the bad weather was younger, less than five years old.

"There is concern about getting road access. I was on one forestry block where some of the trees could not be taken off the block because they can't get on State Highway 4 to the mill where they will be used."Instead, owners were putting efforts into clearing their own roads and dealing with the stock they could get to. "We've had some information from the Forest Owners Association... they've made an estimate of a loss of $1.6 million."

Under one of the Government's sustainable forestry programmes, landowners are able to receive carbon units by creating permanent forest through the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative.

The Ministry of Primary Industries also provides an afforestation grants scheme. Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy unveiled $8.8m in funding for councils across New Zealand to prevent erosion. Horizons Regional Council received the lion's share, with $4.7m to fight erosion and promote tree planting.