Gisborne Mayor's blunt message for forestry companies who don't follow rules

At Tolaga Bay Beach, just up the coast from where 11-year-old Oliver Shone was killed in January by a log, a clean up is going on.  

Oliver was playing on a log - believed to be a forestry log - on Waikanae Beach when he died. His grandmother, who he was staying with, wants justice for Oliver. 

I’m here to meet a representative from the forestry industry to see if there is any kind of justice for Oliver and his family

Marie wants a clean-up operation similar to the one at Tolaga Bay to happen at Waikanae Beach.  

Phil Hope, from Eastland Wood Council agrees saying that is something he will be advocating for. 

He also said the issue was an accident waiting to happen. 

"I'll apologise on behalf of the industry and I apologise on behalf of Te Tairawhiti. You know, it was an accident waiting to happen," Hope said. 

Marie Shone wants justice for her grandson Oliver.
Marie Shone wants justice for her grandson Oliver. Photo credit: Paddy Gower Has Issues.

Marie says she feels ignored, that her grandson was killed and no one no one has been in contact with her.

"I understand how she feels. I think from our perspective, I think the feeling was that that they wanted their privacy. 

"We respect people's privacy. If she would be willing to meet with someone from the industry I would be happy to meet with the family and just talk through with Oliver's grandmother, exactly what she would like the industry to do for her or for the family," Hope said.  

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One issue that needs answering is would there be any way of figuring out what company that log came from?

"The only way that anyone could tell was, first of all, it would have to be the product of production forestry, which we don't know at the stage. 

"Number two would have had to have been processed. And number three, it would have had a  mark to indicate that it came from a woodlot. I don't have that information." 

"In recent years has been no less than eight forestry companies harvesting up there. Three of those are members of the Eastland Wood Council." 

Gisborne mayor Rehette Stoltz.
Gisborne mayor Rehette Stoltz. Photo credit: Supplied.

Gisborne mayor Rehette Stoltz says the situation is frustrating and the solution isn't simple. 

"Those are the type of things that keeps me awake at night. It is big issues and the impacts that we have seen in the last few years are heartbreaking," Stoltz said.  

"And we want to make a difference. It is going to be tough. It is going to take investment from the Government, from forestry companies, from local government to increase that. It is not going to happen overnight."

And she has a stark message for forestry companies who do not play ball. 

"If you do not comply, we will prosecute you like we have done in the last five years. We've prosecuted several companies and they were all successful prosecutions.

"And we will do it again."

Stream Paddy Gower Has Issues in full on ThreeNow.