Sawmiller fined for illegal milling and transport of native timber

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A Raetihi man and his business have been fined $15,000 plus a further $6000 in investigation costs for illegally milling and transporting native timber after an investigation by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Sawmiller Max Cody and his business Timber and Stone Ltd were sentenced at the Ohakune District Court on Friday 16 August 2013 for illegally milling and transporting Tawa in contravention of section 67D and Part 3A of the Forests Act 1949.

In April 2011 MPI was informed that a number of Tawa trees had been harvested from an area of land known as the Waimarino Forest near Raetihi. Investigations determined Cody, a previously registered sawmiller, was involved in the harvest and milling of these trees.

In May 2011 a search warrant was executed by MPI investigators at Cody’s property where they located a sawmill in a shed and approximately 4m3 of sawn Tawa plus the remnants of a sawmill operation in a nearby paddock.

The Investigators also found evidence which showed that Cody had already sold approximately 8.7m3 of sawn Tawa to an Auckland timber merchant, which was later located and seized as part of the investigation. This timber was forfeit to MPI during the sentencing and they will work to have this timber returned to the landowners.

Northern Compliance Manager, Greg Keys says, “Mr Cody was well aware of his obligations under the Forests Act as he was a registered sawmiller between 1995 and 2000 during which time he submitted sawmill returns relating to the milling of indigenous timber.”

“The Forests Act 1949 manages the harvesting and milling of live indigenous trees by controlling the extent of any harvest to ensure the sustainability of New Zealand’s indigenous forests. This is generally done by way of a Sustainable Forest Management Plan or Permit which prescribes management processes and ecological safeguards.”

“Any harvesting and milling of indigenous timber without appropriate consents or outside of a Sustainable Forest Management Plan or Permit threatens the sustainability of these indigenous forests. In this case because of its very slow growing nature of Tawa trees, replacement will likely take many decades.”

"This sort of blatant offending is unacceptable and MPI is pleased to see the courts talking a strong stance in this case. We take the laws that govern our native forests very seriously and will use all resources at our disposal to ensure New Zealand’s environment and natural resources are protected for future generations.”

For further information about New Zealand’s indigenous forestry regulations, please see the MPI website - http://www.mpi.govt.nz/forestry/forestry-in-nz/indigenous-forestry  

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