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Greens expect Cabinet to act on rimu logging

14 May 2000

Greens expect Cabinet to act on rimu logging

The Green Party is providing a paper to Cabinet arguing for a prompt end to Timberlands rimu logging. The paper will be publicly available after tomorrow's Cabinet meeting.

Cabinet is due to discuss the future of the West Coast rimu forests tomorrow (Monday) and Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said Ministers should be under no illusions on how the Greens felt about this issue.

"The logging of unique, publicly-owned native rainforests was a key election issue for the Greens. We have been pleased with the progress to date but would be angered and extremely disappointed if the government opted for a soft way out and let the logging continue," she said.

"The majority of New Zealanders want this logging stopped and voted for the parties who said they would stop it - the Greens, Labour and the Alliance."

The Green Party believes the $120 million development package offered to the West Coast is generous and should enable the Coast to adjust to the loss of native logging, including the rimu.

"It compares favourably both with Treaty settlements and with prices paid for the purchase of private forests," said Ms Fitzsimons. "The public will be outraged if the logging is allowed to continue as well."

Ms Fitzsimons reiterated the Green Party's belief that the timing of the rimu contracts - signed just days, or hours, before Labour announced their native forests policy (and after the policy had been decided) - showed evidence of haste and an attempt to tie the hands of future governments.

"As the Minister has admitted in the House, the legality of ending these contracts is not in dispute as they contain the same 'out clause' as was in the beech contracts," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"The Minister also admitted in the House on Thursday that there is plenty of timber available from a range of sources to keep the furniture industry going and to aid the conversion to plantation species.

"Nobody has been able to show that any significant job losses, either on the Coast or in the furniture industry, would result from saving these forests," said Ms Fitzsimons.

Ends

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 04 470 6661(office), 025 586 068, 07 868 6641(home) Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133


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