At the beaches near the Mohaka River mouth, forestry slash - made up of scraps of timber, branches and offcuts - is the dominant feature.

Much of this steep Hawke's Bay land was prone to erosion, and it could take up to 10 years before pine forests would make the land resilient to heavy rain.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council estimated 7.5 million tonnes of sediment was generated in the region every year, smothering the seabed.

Council chief executive James Palmer said there were significant challenges in the harvest phase of forestry.


"There were a lot of forests planted in our steeper country in Hawke's Bay in the 1990s, as there were favourable tax breaks at the time for forest establishment," he said.

"Many of those forests are now being harvested, so we are now going through a period through which we do have landscapes vulnerable to heavy rainfall events and the sedimentation issues that come from that."

Until this year, there were no controls on how forests were harvested.

In Gisborne there was little enforcement of harvest consents until a tsunami of slash slid into Tolaga Bay earlier this year, threatening lives and destroying roads, homes and bridges in its path.

Soon after, the Gisborne Council visited forestry sites and issued 17 abatement notices.

Palmer said the Hawke's Bay Regional Council was actively checking compliance.

New staff have been hired to put resource consents in place for forestry activity, as well as a dedicated forestry compliance officer.

Palmer said so far no enforcement was deemed necessary, but the Hawke's Bay Regional Council would not hesitate to prosecute for deliberate negligence.

He said some landowners with forests on erodable terrain would not receive resource consents to replant back into pine.


Made with funding from