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Smith Distorts Facts Over Logging Volumes

Acting Conservation Minister Matt Robson said today that Nick Smith's claims about beech logging on the West Coast were a gross distortion of the facts, and showed, once again, that Mr Smith's grasp of arithmetic was feeble at best.

"It is a fact that Timberlands had planned to mill a vast quantity of beech - 64,000 cubic metres a year. This government has stopped this ill-advised plan, ensuring that Crown-owned native forest on the West Coast is protected forever. I am proud of that achievement, Matt Robson said.

"Mr Smith has conveniently overlooked these salient facts, and his claims about beech milling on private-owned land are the sort of beat-up which has got him into trouble before.

"The government's $120 million West Coast adjustment package was paid to help the West Coast economy adjust to the economic impact of protecting 130,000 hectares of pristine forest, including around half of New Zealand's total lowland beech forest.

"By the end of March 2002, the last of the rimu logging will have ceased, ending all logging of native timber on Crown-owned land on the West Coast," Matt Robson said.


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