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WRC Pays out $30,000 on Te Mata Forest "Botch-Up"

In one of the most staggering examples of WRC "stuff-ups", a confidential report regarding the manner in which a WRC contractor - Furpro (later bankrupt!) either deliberately, or through total incompetence managed to sabotage the forest through the use of 3" nails and fencing staples to hang cyanide containers, and 'blazing' stumps to create hold the containers. This indicates not just contractor incompetence, but an equal level of Council incompetence through oversight failure. .  

The Waikato Times has broken the story today, and managed to get get some excellent quotes despite the Council's atempts to clamp down on any information - either through "confidentiality agreements", or presumably "public excluded" meetings.

The settlement is said to be $300,000, but cannot be confirmed - $30,000 from the Council, and $270,000 from its insurer. The claim arises through substantial number of trees being unsaleable because of potential damage to saws, planers etc. 

The Thames people quoted or not quoted include Jim Glen (Te Mata Chair), Duncan Farmer and Graham Sturgeon (Thames Landcare Chair), who claimed that several of his members were shareholders in the Te Mata Forest. Jim Farmer is apparently a shareholder, and claims not to be bound by the confidentiality agreement - makes you wonder why on earth seek such an undertaking is sought in the first place, if third parties are completely immune. 

The Landcare groups all appear to be dedicated anti 1080 advocates , and influential in the Te Mata Forest decision to reject the WRC proposal to use 1080 in the 470 hectare forest as part of its 2009 Peninsula Project. Trapping and poisoning was the contracting alternative adopted.

Talk about unintended consequences - Te Mata had wanted to handle the contract, but the Council insisted on awarding it to an outfit called Furpro, who must surely have been a bunch of amateurs - for one thing, they had no insurance, and according to CEO Vaughan Payne the Council failed to check on this before awarding them the contract - wow! - what an admission. A Companies Office examination shows no record of any company of this name - ever!

Regardless of the anti-1080 arguments, the whole idea that it can be replaced by this kind of control is just beyond belief even if the Landcare groups - Thames in this case, claim that the alternative is viable. Landcare Thames claim that there was not a possum problem in the forest in any case - a subjective view of course.  In any case Te Mata Forests cannot be blamed for the debacle even if its opposition to 1080 was the catalyst.

Whatever, it is once again rate-payers who will fit the bill.    





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