Nationwide first bond for slash management

May 1, 2023
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The NZ Government has ordered a ministerial enquiry into forestry practice and the which has filled beaches and destroyed roads in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.

But in a nationwide first, the Southland District Council has placed a performance bond on its harvesting contractor, to ensure compliance to the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry standards during and after harvesting.

The council owns 1840.4ha of forestry land, with an operational forest area of 1532.6 hectares. Its forests are located at Dipton, Gowan Hill, Ohai and Waikaia.

Southland District Council commercial infrastructure manager Stuart O’Neill said the council’s harvest and forest management contractor, OneForest, was an industry-leading forestry management and harvesting company, and past performance has been very high.

“Our Southland forestry soils are more stable and topography is generally easier than upper North Island forestry sites and, as a result, recent forestry environmental outcomes in the upper North Island are very unlikely to occur in the Southland region,’’ he said.

“The New Zealand Institute of Forestry has confirmed this type of performance bonding for slash management is a first of its kind in the industry, and it has been well-supported by the contractor through a collaborative contracting arrangement.’’

In March, Environment Southland officials said they believed the risk of damage from slash in Southland was being managed, but they were looking closely at the issue in the aftermath of the cyclone and discussing the risk to infrastructure with other councils.