It was interesting to hear Trevor Helson, Chief Executive of the Eastland Wood Council being so honest at the GDC Community Development Committee on 11 February.

He admitted his organisation believes that “the environment is important and should be protected, but not at the cost of commercial interests”. So is the Wood Council suggesting the environment is worth protecting as long as it doesn’t impact on how much money they can make?

Mr Helson said it was generous to say residents’ objections were ‘vexatious’. These Kaiti residents were simply saying they didn’t want a weigh bridge for trucks or a massive trailer gantry in their backyards. I wonder if Mr Helson would care if the plan was to have logging trucks carrying nearly 4,000 tonnes of logs a day using a gantry in front of his house? When Mr Helson said “the RMA opens things up more than it needs to” was he suggesting that citizens should not be able to challenge noise, air and visual pollution caused by their neighbours?

One of the key priorities for the industry according to Mr Helson is to ‘change the image’ of the industry and reassure us that forestry is actually good for the environment. So far he seems to be doing a good job of exactly the opposite.

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