Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Conservation Assessment of Timberlands

Hon Sandra Lee
Minister of Conservation

News release

4 February 2000

Conservation assessment of Timberlands native forests

Sandra Lee, Minister of Conservation, and Pete Hodgson, Minister Responsible for Timberlands West Coast, today released a Department of Conservation assessment of Timberlands' native forests that ranks more than 90% as being of high or medium conservation value.

Areas ranked as high value include Timberlands' Orikaka forest, presently being logged for rimu in what the company concedes is an unsustainable manner.

Also assessed as high value are the Okarito and Saltwater forests, where Timberlands carries out rimu logging it considers sustainable.

Timberlands' beech forests, including those in the Maruia Valley where trial beech logging began, are mostly assessed as high value.

The assessment of the forests, by an expert team of Department of Conservation staff and consultants, was prepared in mid-1997 for the Office of Treaty Settlements. Timberlands at the time was being considered for inclusion in the Ngai Tahu settlement, although the possibility was not progressed at the time.

"We hope the release of this assessment will increase understanding of the Government's determination to save the parts of Timberlands' native forests that have significant conservation value," the ministers said.

"We are especially pleased to release this report in full given that the previous Government suppressed it as diligently as it could for two and a half years," said the ministers. "The descriptive information in the report was released only after an Ombudsman's ruling. The conservation value assessments were withheld and are today disclosed for the first time."

"The report lays out in some detail the physical and biological qualities of each forest block. It explains the significance of each block in relation to nearby areas of native forest, the rarity and quality of the forest type and the native fauna it contains. The conservation value of the forests is clearly and authoritatively explained."

"Clearly much of Timberlands' native forest is of National Park quality, and is equally deserving of protection."

The criteria for assessing the forest were those of the Forest Heritage Fund, now the Nature Heritage Fund. The Fund invests in the protection of native forest on private land. Areas of high or medium value are those meeting the fund's standard for purchase and protection.

The ministers noted remarks by the report's authors that the assessment of the forest should be regarded as preliminary, although its conclusions were considered robust.

"This is not a definitive assessment of the forests, but it is a very useful first draft. We doubt a review of the conclusions would produce substantial re-evaluations of the forests concerned."

Altogether 77,794 hectares of Timberlands' native forests are assessed as high conservation value and 43,035 hectares as medium conservation value. Timberlands' 1999 annual report says the company has 129,856 hectares of native forests. On that basis 60 per cent of the forests are assessed as high value and 33 per cent medium value.

The first of a number of public requests for the report under the Official Information Act was received on 31 October 1997. There is no enduring record of some requests, but officials report between 15 and 20 requests in total.

On 26 November 1997 all requests were answered with a refusal to release any part of the document. Following an Ombudsman's ruling the report was released on 19 June 1998 with descriptive information intact but all conservation value assessments deleted. Subsequent requests for the entire document were refused for the duration of the previous Government's term in office.

"The debate over native forest logging on the West Coast has been clouded throughout by secrecy and misinformation. We are pleased to be able to take this step towards a more open and better informed debate," said Ms Lee and Mr Hodgson.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>

 

Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election