[23 July/Radio NZ]

The forestry industry has been told to rely on growing trees to capture carbon dioxide instead of cutting them for timber to earn money from forests on steep hillsides. The industry said this would be uneconomic as profits would drop. The Ministry for Primary Industries made the recommendation following controversy over the dangers of harvesting timber on steep slopes. Four people have been killed this year in forestry accidents. Worksafe said trees may need to be banned from steep hillsides as cutting them down was dangerous. Forest Owners Association President, Peter Weir, said some forest schemes had a legal requirement to replant trees after harvest. Mr Weir added the landowners also faced hefty deforestation liabilities. He wrote to MPI to ask for an exemption to deforestation penalties on steep slopes. The Ministry didn’t think a blanket exemption was the solution.