Labour to seek AG investigation on OIO forestry plant failure

Labour’s Forestry spokesperson Stuart Nash will ask the Auditor-General to investigate a Malaysian forestry company’s failure to deliver on 20 years’ worth of promises to build a processing facility that has never appeared.


“Hikurangi Forest Farms’ 1996 purchase of over 33,000 hectares of Gisborne land was approved in a large part by the Overseas Investment Office on the basis it promised to build a ‘state of the art’ processing facility.

“That was 20 years ago and not a sod of earth has been turned. And more sensitive land purchases were made in 2006 and 2007 with the same promise. This shows how weak the enforcement from the OIO is.


“To make matters worse Hikurangi is now denying the local Prime Sawmill logs to process. Instead it is exporting these logs without a cent of value being added or a single job created, despite the mill being prepared to pay export-equivalent prices.


“I am going to ask the Auditor-General to investigate the fact so many promises made in three OIO applications over 20 years have not been kept due to suspicions Hikurangi deliberately and blatantly ignored the promises they made. They need to be held to account,” said Stuart Nash