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Coasters Angry Over Contracts Misinformation

West Coasters are angry today that Greens co-leader, Rod Donald, and some sections of the media are perpetuating the myth that rimu contracts were signed in secret just before Labour's policy was announced. Scoop's West Coast Correspondent John Howard reports.

Earlier this week Greens co-leader, Rod Donald, labelled the rimu contracts signed last year as "secret contracts" which he claims were made in the three days before Labour announced its forest policies.

Mr Donald issued a press release which said in part; "In the three days in between, as the Timberlands chairman said, an extraordinary coincidence took place, because in those three days the bulk of the contracts for beech and rimu were signed in secret, they were designed to tie the hands of any new Government."

However, last month the chairman of Timberlands board of directors, Warren Young, had rubbished an identical claim made by the environmental pressure group Native Forest Action.

"The rimu contracts when entered into were the result of an open tender arrangement which started around June last year," Mr Young said at the time.

"There is no basis whatsoever to an accusation that Timberlands in any way was hastening contracts to preempt a policy change by Government," he said.

Mr Young said the tender process was focused entirely on timber, not politics.

"We received responses from interested parties, we looked at those responses and allocated wood accordingly."

"All of that, and the signing of the contracts were very much independent of any anticipated change of Government," Mr Young said.

Meanwhile, former Timberlands Minister, Tony Ryall, said last night that Mr Donald had spent too much time with his colleague Nandor Tanzcos.

"It's just a ridiculous thing for him to say," Mr Ryall said.


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