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Surveys Show Kiwis Don't Mind Native Logging

New Zealanders do not mind native trees being logged providing it is done sensibly, according to the results of a recent AC Nielsen survey. Scoop's West Coast correspondent, John Howard, reports.

The surveys, the fifth since 1997, are used by West Coast native wood processing company, Westco Lagan, to determine any commercial risks associated with consumer attitudes towards native logging.

The company said 88 percent of those surveyed believe it is okay for native trees to be milled, providing it is done sustainably, came from areas the Government has set aside for forestry, but not national parks or reserves.

"The results are in stark contrast with recent claims by politicians and conservationists that New Zealanders do not want native trees to be harvested," said Westco Lagan director, Grant Carruthers.

"In fact, the survey results have consistently shown that New Zealanders are quite happy for the harvesting of native trees to continue, providing it is done in a sensibe manner, he said.

Meanwhile, Labour released its environment policy yesterday in which it says, quiet discussion has begun with those who wish to engage constructively on the economic development package for the West Coast. However, a quick ring around the Coast has nobody admitting that they are involved in any discussions with Labour.

Many were incensed that Labour was holding secret behind the scenes discussions and not consultation generally with Coast people, who will be the principal benficiaries of the proposed economic development trust.

West Coast local authorities are not seen as having a mandate either because they, too, have not consulted with their ratepayers on the issue, but have supported the pro-logging group Coast Action Network's campaign with financial support amounting to some $2,000 each.

Labour says the sustainable beech logging scheme will not go ahead and Timberlands will be directed to cease pursuing it and withdraw applications for resource consents. However, this has raised the issue whether Labour can legally do what it says it will do before the expiration of the 8-year agreements recently signed by Timberlands and before Labour announced its stop-logging policy.

The State Owned Enterprise Act applies as does Timberlands' statement of corporate intent. There is a savings clause in the State Owned Enterprises Act which does not make any deed, agreement, right or obligation, invalid or unenforceable even though a state-owned enterprise may have failed to comply with Part One of the Act or its corporate intent.

Timberlands appears to have complied with the law and its statement of corporate intent has been sanctioned by the present government. It would seem Labour in government would have to amend the State-Owned Enterprises Act which could have wider ramifications.

Watch this space!

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