Major Forestry company has its certification suspended

by | Feb 26, 2024

One of New Zealand’s largest forestry companies has had its certification suspended over slash damage in and around Tolaga Bay.

Ernslaw One, an Oregon Group company owned by the Malaysian-based Tiong family, and its subsidiary Winstone Pulp International undertake lumber and pulp manufacturing across the Central North Island. Timberbiz reported the certification being suspended was from the Forest Stewardship Council, an international body that sets forestry standards.

The area in question was damaged due to slash from 2018 and, despite the time that has passed, locals are still worried about the damage caused.

Tolaga Bay farmer Mike Parker said there are thousands of areas that have slash damage.

“[They are] in the back of Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay, our friends up in the Waiapu region, there are thousands of these situations happening. There is only one way they go, and that is down and they keep going,” Mr Parker said.

With multiple forestry companies working in Tairāwhiti, there is no way of knowing definitively where all the wood has come from. However, some areas impacted by the slash filmed by 1News recently were where Ernslaw One is a major grower.

Manu Caddie of Ngāti Pūkenga and Ngāti Hauā said Ernslaw had already been prosecuted successfully in the High Court in the past.

“This is just another notch against them, I guess, and hopefully there are other companies that go under the spotlight,” Mr Caddie said.

Chair of the Ministerial Inquiry into Land Use Hekia Parata said it was an environmental disaster unfolding in plain sight.

Since Ernslaw One has lost its Forest Stewardship Council certification many forests around the country are also under audit.

Ernslaw said it was appealing the suspension.