13 Jul 2010

Forestry success story under the radar

6:44 am on 13 July 2010

The retiring head of the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry says MAF partnerships with Maori landowners are a success story that's gone unnoticed.

Murray Sherwin, who retires in November after nine years as director general, says Crown Forests is a $120 million per year venture run by public servants managing state-owned trees on Maori land.

He says while it pays rent, the business now aims to return a commercially viable forestry operation to iwi as soon as possible.

"It's been a very successful operation," he said, "under the radar, mostly in the North Island, running some very smart operations, transferring more and more forests into iwi management and control."

Mr Sherwin told Waatea News that while the objective of Crown Forests is to do itself out of a job, its success has meant it keeps getting more work, such as managing Timberlands West Coast.