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Labour Hears Logging Concerns – Petition Presented

Today Native Forest Action presented the Leader of the Opposition, Helen Clark, with petition signatures collected on the West Coast calling for an end to Timberlands’ native logging in exchange for regional development assistance.

“Of the 650 signatures we collected earlier this year in Westport, 400 were those of West Coast residents,” said Peter Russell, Conservation Officer for Native Forest Action. Thousands more signatures have been collected from around the country.

Mr Russell presented the petition with a slice of a beech tree logged by Timberlands.

Peter Russell accompanied Pat McNamara, of the Buller Conservation Group, and Westland farmer Don Harcourt who came to Parliament to challenge the myth that West Coast people support Timberlands’ native forest logging.

"Timberlands has been trying to create the impression that everyone on the West Coast supports its native logging. However, out on the streets of Westport we found that half the people we approached were in agreement with Native Forest Action's proposals. This petition shows grass-roots support on the West Coast for ending Timberlands' native forest logging,” said Native Forest Action Conservation Officer, Peter Russell.

"We came here to ensure this message gets through to politicians. West Coast Labour MP Damien O'Connor has been strategically surrounded by logging supporters, and has blindly ignored the wider feeling in his electorate."

"We have come to Wellington to give Helen Clark an opportunity to hear real West Coast concerns. One-sided views from a vocal group interested in supporting industrial logging have drowned out other opinions held by the West Coast community at large. The petitions are proof that there is a diversity of views which have not had fair representation."

"The slice of beech given to Ms Clark is not from the oldest tree in the forest – but it represents the trees of all ages cut down by Timberlands every day. This destruction results in habitat loss for some of our most endangered birds and bats."

The West Coast delegates are also unimpressed by the government's recent announcement of its intention to lift the ban on exporting native woodchips.

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