Forestry industry on notice after Tolaga Bay debris clean-up expected to cost $10m

Forestry operators have been put on notice, warned over what the Government describes as a "laissez-faire" set of rules.

Minister Shane Jones says the industry has enjoyed a laissez-faire set of rules for too long. Source: 1 NEWS

The industry's been criticised for contributing to a $10 million damage bill from flooding in Tolaga Bay.

"I was disappointed that the forestry voices were conspicuously silent after the Tolaga bay calamity," says Forestry Minister Shane Jones.

"The forestry sector has enjoyed a laissez-faire set of rules and society's attitudes are changing… and I'll be the champion for the forests, but I'm not going to champion a bunch of players who are missing from the action," he said.

The Forest Owners Association acknowledges changes need to happen. One option is selective harvesting instead of clear felling. This means cutting down some trees and leaving others standing for protective cover.

"But that means you've got limited extraction going on so you have to weigh it up economically, some people will look at that and say yes I can do that and still make it living," says chief executive David Rhodes.

However, he says other people won't be able to afford it.

"Some of this country I think will be no good for either farming or forestry, so we’re just going to have to look at retirement, you know... East Cape has got some of the worst eroding country in the world," he says.

Minister Shane Jones will brief cabinet on the Tolaga Bay situation on Monday where clean up costs and who will pay will be discussed.