National Environmental Standard for forestry advances to next stage

0n the 17th of June an important milestone was reached at a small gathering held in a forest managed by PF Olsen near Rotorua. This is where the Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Nick Smith, and the Associate Minister for Primary Industries Hon Jo Goodhew announced the Government's intention to advance the National Environmental Standard (NES) to the next stage of public consultation. This process is planned to commence in July after which, subject to modifications that may arise, the NES is expected to advance to a legal drafting stage.

Dr Nick Smith at Paengaroa

The Hon. Nick Smith announces the decision to take the NES to the public consultation phase at a gathering at Paengaroa forest in the Bay of Plenty.

For a number of years, a dedicated team of individuals have been working away with the aim of creating a National Environmental Standard for Forestry. Comprising members of the forest industry, regulatory authorities, environmental NGO's and staff from the Ministry of Primary Industries and the Ministry for the Environment, this group has wrestled with how to codify the plethora of different RMA rules impacting forestry activities around the country into one cohesive code that can deliver the same, or better, environmental performance at less cost, delay and uncertainty to the industry.

PF Olsen's Environment Manger, Kit Richards, one of the NES working party members, believes this development marks an important milestone. In everyone's mind, the objective has been to develop a new framework that enables the industry to maintain, or improve, its environmental performance but in a much more streamlined, efficient and cost-effective way. The work to date has been significant, not only in terms of the cooperative development involving the different participants but also the in the development of tools to support the legislative framework. These tools include a national web-based erosion susceptibility layer, fish spawning information and a threatened fish species probability model.

The 400 hectare Paengaroa forest venue at which the announcement was made provided a great working example of the complexities that forest managers face, including a range of erosion terrains, protected ecosystems, wetlands, archaeological reserves and the potential for the presence of rare native fish.

Group at Paengaroa

Invited guests discuss aspects of the NES at a PF Olsen-managed harvesting operation at Paengaroa forest in the Bay of Plenty.

Click here Minister's Press release.

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