Chris Hipkins 'shocked' at footage of river of logs surging across highway

A video showing a river of logs surging across a highway near Ōpōtiki has caught the attention of the Prime Minister.

Chris Hipkins gave the forestry sector a dressing down on Tuesday, telling them to clean up after themselves. But forestry representatives are adamant they did.

The section of State Highway 35 east of Ōpōtiki was closed overnight on Sunday and reopened on Monday. But footage of a surge of downed trees made it all the way to the Beehive and reignited political concerns about the forestry sector.

"I found the images just as shocking as everybody else," Hipkins said.

It comes just months after forestry debris caused significant damage to parts of the East Coast during Cyclone Gabrielle.

"I think the forestry sector should be contributing to the clean-up effort," Hipkins said.

Chris Hipkins 'shocked' at footage of river of logs surging across highway
Photo credit: Newshub.

But James Treadwell from the NZ Forestry Institute was unhappy with what Hipkins said.

"I think the comments are unfair and showed a total lack of knowledge or trying to even get knowledge," he said.

That's because, according to the Forestry Institute, the unnamed overseas owners of the land have contributed to clean-up efforts.

"The owners are one of the largest owners in the country and are taking it very seriously. They were out on the road helping clear up the site straight away," Treadwell said.

The subject of rogue forestry logs is clearly still a very sticky issue.