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Cabinet Cannot Cave In To Greens On West Coast

2 May 2000


The Cabinet cannot cave in to the Greens over the West Coast package, says United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne.

Mr Dunne says a Cabinet cave in to the Greens’ demands would surrender the authority of Government to the tyranny of a hysterical minority.

“On a wider scale, this whole episode reveals the utter shallowness of the Government’s dogmatic West Coast policy.”

“It is so absolutely desperate to stop beech logging to appease its trendy supporters that is prepared to enter into a tawdry auction over the compensation package and to extend rimu logging contracts for up to seven years.”

“It seems all the West Coasters have to do is dig their toes in and they will win more concessions from a now completely hamstrung Government, and good on them for doing so,” he says.

Mr Dunne says the Government is now caught in a pincer movement entirely of its own making.

“It needs a settlement so it has do a deal acceptable to the West Coast, but it needs the votes of the Greens as well.”

“It is now sublimely trapped by the absurdity of its own policy.”

“Damien O’Connor’s position as a member of the Labour Caucus is now even more untenable,” he says.

Mr Dunne says while a Cabinet backdown now would make the Government look impotent and silly, the longer term implications of a fractured relationship with the Greens will expose its fragility, and heighten fears of a return to political instability.

“Either way, Labour’s arrogant ineptitude will be to blame,” he says.


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