10 Aug 2011

$134,000 penalty for milling native trees

12:55 pm on 10 August 2011

A judge in the Greymouth District Court has fined West Coast sawmiller Michael Hende and his company, $134,000 for illegally milling native trees on two properties.

The Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry says the conviction is for the largest recorded since a 1993 amendment to the Forest Act.

Compliance director Geoff Allen said MAF began an investigation two years ago of forest blocks north of Franz Joseph, where some harvesting of indigenous trees was permitted under Sustainable Forest Management permits.

Mr Allen said that under the permits, Hende was entitled to harvest 372,000 cubic metres of timber, but MAF found he had harvested 587,000 cubic metres.

He says it will take the forests 130 years to recover.