Northland swamp Kauri jobs under fire

By: Patrick Cox

The July/August Deals on Wheels forestry column by Patrick Cox.

Once again, there are those outside Northland who think they know what is best for Northland and are not shy to put their two cents in. Here is the fight back, a lone voice of the silent majority for the swamp kauri logger/salvagers of Northland.

Having watched the swamp kauri loggers in action first-hand, they do an excellent job and provide much needed revenue and wages for what southerners consider the poorest region in the country.

When was the last time Green MP Eugine Sage and Northland’s newest MP Winston Peters have taken time to visit one of these sites and see what a great job these guys do?


These swamp kauri loggers do not just grab an excavator and start digging up logs. Consent is required from Regional Council before you can stick your bucket in the ground, this process is not easy and you have to get all your paper work salvage and restoration plans in place.

Swamp kauri loggers walk a fine line between making a dollar and going bust. It appears that too many people have an opinion but know absolutely nothing about logging, in a recent conversation it was mentioned to me that because we were exporting these logs in log form, we are doing people out of work by not getting all the processing done in New Zealand. If we want more jobs, why are we not processing every log here?

Kauri logs have supposedly being lying there for 45,000 years – long before humans settled in New Zealand, so I guess if you own the land that that these trees are buried beneath then you have a lawful right to them. Who cares if it is a finite resource, with it laying buried under the ground what good is it to anyone? Once it has been dug up and the land restored to its natural state who would know that it has even been removed.


This is an open market and anyone can turn up on the loggers’ site and buy logs, there is risk involved – overseas buyers are prepared to take that risk but it would appear that Kiwis are not. The Ministry of Primary Industries is doing a great job, but Green Party MP Eugine obviously has no understanding of what sustainable logging is all about.

Sustainable logging is where you take a percentage of trees out of a forest, taking out the dead and dying, malformed and so on, and leaving all the healthy trees, creating a healthy forest, leave it for another ten years and once again remove a percentage. The trees that are left grow bigger and the volume of wood stays the same, that’s what sustainability is all about, the forest is sustainable forever.

So let us get that clear, Swamp Kauri is logging salvage and has nothing to do with forest logging at all. Sustainable logging is taking a sustainable amount of trees out of a standing forest.


The Green MP and Winston Peters need to do more homework before making inaccurate statements. For the Green MP making statements that the Kauri salvage loggers are just there for "quick money and dirty profits" should think carefully before slandering hard working Kiwi loggers who are prepared to get out there and risk everything, including their lives and make a living for themselves and provide much needed employment for Northlanders.

To be fair, there are cowboy contractors out there breaking all the rules and spoiling it for all the good ones that do everything right. Every industry in New Zealand has its share of cowboys who ruin it for everyone else; thankfully, they only make up a very small percentage.

Northland has a valuable resource in Swamp Kauri and it will continue for many years, returning good dollars to the Northland economy, so the politicians should stay focused on helping their constituents not bringing about their demise.

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