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Government continues to shut down Coast

West Coasters deserve an inquiry into sustainable management of their forests before the Government shuts down the Coast, says Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley.

Mrs Shipley received a petition to present to Parliament today from about 4,000 people on the West Coast. The petition calls for an inquiry into sustainable management of West Coast indigenous forests, a comprehensive study into the effects of the Government's indigenous forest policies on the West Coast and a hearing on the Coast to hear submissions on those matters.

"Not only has the Government broken its promise on the West Coast Accord but they are trying to wriggle out of honouring the rimu contracts. This Government has completely betrayed the Coast to buy off the green vote.

"The Government is shutting down the West Coast forests and now we hear that the Conservation Minister has declined two applications for mining on crown land of marginal conservation value. This just rubs salt in the wound. The mining had the potential to create up to 58 jobs.

"The very least the Government could do is conduct an investigation to get robust factual information before they rip the heart out of the Coast. They should conduct an inquiry into sustainable management of West Coast forests and complete a socio-economic study of the impact of their forestry polices on the Coast. It would at least show they are listening to the very people their policies will affect.

"Mr Anderton promised an extra 2000 jobs for the Coast under his regional development package, yet he is unable to substantiate this claim. Bit-by-bit the Government is closing down the West Coast," Mrs Shipley said.

Ends

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