New Zealand’s industry to hit back after Premier defends forestry deal

New Zealand has been hit with a lawsuit from an Australian timber processing company, alleging that it had no rights to the timber it had harvested.

The company, Timber Processing International, is asking the High Court in Wellington to dismiss the lawsuit and a claim that it should be granted rights to harvest timber for its processing business.

Timber Processing International CEO, John A. McCallum, said the suit was politically motivated and sought to block the process of building new roads.

“The company has no right to claim timber from our land,” he said.

“We’ve got to make sure our rights are respected.”

The lawsuit, filed in the Wellington District Court, names the Premier and the forestry minister, Joe Hockey, and seeks an injunction that would allow Timber Processing to harvest the timber.

Timelier’s lawyer, Peter Leitch, said there was no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the Premier’s office, which had been involved in the negotiations.

“It was clear that the Premier had given the government a green light to harvest our timber for processing,” he told the New Zealand Herald.

“He had done nothing wrong.”

Timber processing had been a cornerstone of the National Government’s timber policy.

The timber industry in New Zealand produces about 15 per cent of the country’s total timber harvest.