FORESTRY

SILNA discussion document released by MAF

Thursday 6 August 2009, 12:04PM
By Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
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The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has released a discussion document titled SILNA Forests: Review of the 2002 Policy and the Implementation Package. 

MAF Natural Resources Director Mike Jebson says the document provides information on the South Island Landless Natives Act 1906 (SILNA) forests policy and its implementation to date, and seeks SILNA forest owner and key stakeholder views on how the current policy has operated and a future approach.

``MAF sees this input into the review as essential to its success, and is actively encouraging submissions on how the policy can move forward in a manner that is fair and equitable to all parties.’’

John Ruru and Maggie Bayfield have been appointed as independent reviewers.

A series of hui is being held in conjunction with the submission process in August and September 2009, to provide further opportunity for SILNA owners and key stakeholders to consider how the current policy is working and discuss possible future approaches.

The hui programme is as follows:

Invercargill – Monday 31 August

Dunedin – Tuesday 1 September

Christchurch – Wednesday 2 September

Nelson – Thursday 3 September

Wellington – Friday 4 September
Further information on hui times and locations is available by contacting MAF Natural Resources Group Senior Policy Analyst Avinash Shrivastava on free-call 0800 00 83 33.

The full SILNA Forests: Review of the 2002 Policy and the Implementation Package discussion document can be downloaded from http://www.maf.govt.nz/forestry/silnareview

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Background:
Under the South Island Landless Natives Act 1906, the Crown transferred 57 500 hectares of land to approximately 4 000 individuals of Mori descent. The SILNA lands are currently held in multiple ownership and are registered with the Mori Land Court.
SILNA forests were originally exempt from the sustainable forest management provisions of the 1993 amendment to the Forests Act. Clear felling of SILNA forests led to the introduction of a goodwill payment system in exchange for a voluntary moratorium on logging of SILNA forests in 1999. This was an interim measure to protect high conservation value forests from harvesting while longer-term solutions could be found.

In 2002, the Government allocated $19.691 million (including GST) over seven years to implement the current SILNA policy package. Most of the funding was allocated to conservation protection negotiations with SILNA owners. Funding has since been extended until 30 June 2010.

The moratorium arrangement was carried forward into the 2002 policy. The legislation still distinguishes between SILNA and other privately owned indigenous forest land; SILNA owners can harvest their forests without any sustainable forest management plan or permit and sell the resulting timber in the domestic market provided they satisfy other Resource Management Requirements. However, SILNA forest timber exports must now adhere to the same regulations as any other privately owned indigenous forest.