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Catlins logging exposes nonsense of Govt policy

Nick Smith National Conservation Spokesperson

27 April 2001

Catlins logging exposes nonsense of Govt policy

"The Minister's silence on clear fell rimu logging by Ministers on Maori owned land in the Catlins shows the Government has one set of rules for Maori and another set of rules for West Coasters," National's Conservation spokesperson Nick Smith said today.

"The approval for clear felling 100 hectares of rimu forests in the Catlins is a disgrace. There is no excuse for unsustainable forestry in this day and age. The stupidity is that the Government stopped sustainable rimu harvesting by Timberlands on the West Coast but turns a blind eye to rimu clear felling in Southland," Dr Smith said.

Dr Smith agreed with criticism of the Clutha District Council by Forest and Bird for granting a non-notified resource consent for the logging but said the real responsibility for the problem rested with Ministers.

"The National Government introduced two important bills to Parliament to rectify these problems. The Resource Management Amendment Bill would allow Council decisions not to notify to be appealed by the Environment Court. The Forest Amendment Bill would resolve the problem of clear felling on SILNA land.

"These bills have languished for 18 months in the Select Committee under this Government. The Bill to stop sustainable West Coast forestry was passed in just four months. The Labour-Alliance Government has its priorities all wrong.

"The Government wasted $120 million stopping sustainable forestry on the West Coast but has ignored the legitimate requests of Southland Maori owners for a fair settlement on their forests. I hope this logging will jolt the Government into getting on and resolving this issue," Dr Smith said.


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