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Sustainable Economic Future For Coasters

30 May 2001

Forest Allocations Ensure Sustainable Economic Future For Coasters

Green Party co-leader Rod Donald said today the allocation of 130,000 hectares of Timberlands native forests to the Department of Conservation ensures the long term economic viability of West Coast communities.

Mr Donald congratulated the Conservation Minister Sandra Lee and the Government for adopting the major recommendations of an independent review of Timberland's indigenous forests.

"The review confirms what the Green Party and others have been saying all along - that the indigenous forests controlled by Timberlands have outstanding conservation values that should be protected," Mr Donald said.

Six major new park proposals are now being considered as a result of the recommendations. They are the creation of a new National Park based on Lewis Pass National Reserve, Maruia Valley and the upper Waiau; two new conservation parks in the lower Buller Gorge and Grey Valley; and additions to Kahurangi, Paparoa and Tai Poutini/Westland National Parks.

In addition a number of new ecological areas and wildlife refuges will be created, while a number of existing ecological areas will increase in size.

"These are highly significant conservation gains for the country," Mr Donald said.

"The Government's decision to preserve these forests links with the $120 million economic development package the West Coast received last year."

"Having received the funding, West Coasters now have the surety that the forests, landscapes and unique historical heritage on which a sustainable economic future can be based, are to be protected."

"The allocation is entirely in keeping with the Westland District Council's recent far-sighted decision to adopt a strategic initiative to protect and restore the damaged natural environment," said Mr Donald.

"The future of the West Coast clearly lies in caring for the environment - for the sake of the environment and as the source of sustainable business opportunities."


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