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Indigenous West Coast forests transferred to DOC

30 May 2001 Media Statement

Indigenous West Coast forests transferred to conservation estate


The government today announced the transfer of all West Coast indigenous forests currently managed by Timberlands West Coast to conservation lands to be managed by the Department of Conservation.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said the transfer of the forests is the consequence of an election promise to end logging of Crown-managed indigenous forests.

“This is an historic conservation gain for the West Coast and for all New Zealanders," Helen Clark said.

"These forests include some of the very best surviving remnants of the magnificent lowland native forest that once carpeted New Zealand. By adding them to the conservation estate we are ensuring that generations of New Zealanders to come will be able to experience a beautiful part of New Zealand's natural heritage."

The Government has allocated the 130,000 hectares of forests in line with the recommendations of an independent panel of experts that assessed the conservation value of the land currently managed by Timberlands West Coast, a state-owned enterprise.

“We have accepted the panel’s recommendations that there be significant additions of Timberlands’ forests to the existing national parks of Kahurangi, Paparoa and Westland/Tai Poutini. The views of the NZ Conservation Authority will be sought on these additions," Helen Clark said.

“This means some of the forests will automatically gain World Heritage Status. Other land will be added to ecological areas, scenic reserves, scientific reserves, wildlife management areas, amenity and conservation areas and parks, or will be used to create new ones."

The designation of the different blocks of land have been determined by their conservation values, as assessed by the expert panel.

Helen Clark said the special interest West Coasters have in these forests is being recognised through the establishment of consultative committees to discuss management issues concerning the proposed new conservation parks.

"These will involve community representatives and other West Coast interest groups.

"I am very proud to lead a Government that is honouring not just its own promises but decades of effort by people dedicated to the conservation of New Zealand's natural heritage."

Last year the government announced a $120 million compensation package for the West Coast to assist the region's economy adjust to the government's policies on ending logging in Crown-owned indigenous forests.


ENDS

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