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More Hollow Promises For the West Coast

ACT Deputy Leader Hon Ken Shirley today said that after a trail of broken promises from Labour why should any West Coaster believe that the promises made by the Government today will be kept over time.

“As Deputy Prime Minister in 1990 Helen Clark made a solemn promise to uphold the West Coast Forest Accord stating that ‘it is absolutely essential that we keep faith with existing agreements’.

“Helen Clark repeated that promise in 1995 with the statement that ‘Labour supports the principles and intentions of the West Coast Accord’. Article 9 of that agreement states ‘that a sustainable yield beech scheme may proceed on the basis of the appended maps from the final report of the Working Party … and that the Forest Service and the Crown will invite tenders as soon as possible’.

“Late last year Michael Cullen promised that a Labour Government would establish the West Coast Economic Development Trust in conjunction with current local body councils and that the Government would allocate to the Trust cutting rights and control of exotic forests currently under management of Timberlands West Coast Ltd.

“We now know that that cannot happen because the first right of refusal is already promised to Ngai Tahu.

“While the West Coasters should accept this compensation package they should be under no illusion concerning its likely continuation. Labour has consistently reneged in the past and can only be relied upon to do it again,” said Ken Shirley.

ENDS

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