Organisers of a petition that led to a Ministerial Inquiry into land use in Tairāwhiti and Wairoa have welcomed the release of the report with findings and unconditionally support two thirds of the report recommendations.
Spokesperson Hera Ngata-Gibson said the group of residents are pleased to have the Inquiry completed and for many of the local concerns and regional risks to get greater scrutiny and attention.
“It is good to see the Panel agreed with nearly all of the recommendations in our submission and we appreciate it was a massive task that was under-resourced and too short a timeframe to do justice to the complexities of the issues at stake.”
“The report confirms the forestry industry has lost its social licence and while there are some good recommendations, the devil will be in the detail of how they are interpreted. If there is not enough action taken to significantly reduce the footprint of pine plantations and pasture on erosion-prone land in the region, then we can expect to see more action than just petitions into the future. If politicians, officials and industry will not stop unsustainable practices, then they should expect the citizenry will, by any means necessary.”
“It is unfortunate the report seems to have been used in some parts as a way for some groups to attack Gisborne District Council about issues well outside the scope of the Inquiry Terms of Reference” said Ms Ngata-Gibson.
“Furthermore, members of our group have raised concerns and described parts of the report as an attempted grab for control. GDC do need their feet held to fire, but there are recommendations in the report that potentially give huge favour and power to select groups and individuals appointed by the Government. We don’t think that’s a good way forward. We would only support full participatory processes.”
“The report seems to overlook the land use of pastoral farming almost entirely, that was supposed to be half the focus of the Inquiry given pasture makes up more than half of land use in the region and is a major contributor to sediment and erosion. Likewise, there is no explicit reference to the impacts of deer, goats, pigs and possums on erosion and future native forests. It’s like they have sidestepped that issue completely.”
“What we are excited about is the focus on a Just Transition to create truly sustainable industries and employment based on a diverse bioeconomy in the region. We are also happy that East Coast Exchange and other market opportunities for biodiversity and regenerative agriculture have been included for support. We agree with the need for an urgent review of the ETS rules incentivising permanent pine plantations and acknowledgement that no science exists to prove pine can transition successfully to indigenous forest.
Line by line initial responses to each recommendation:
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