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O'Connor: Force Lee To Resign Or Go Yourself

Sunday, August 19 2001

ACT Conservation spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today that West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O'Connor must immediately front up to the Government and demand the resignation of Conservation Minister Sandra Lee ' or else resign himself and force a by-election.

"Ms Lee's decision to deny access through public land to a West Coast gold mine smacks of pure vitriol and is robbing the region of 200 jobs and up to $500 million in the next 15 years. Clearly, this decision is pay back for being outsmarted by the West Coasters over logging of the beech forests.

"As he did over the Timberlands issue, Mr O'Connor's trying to get out of this latest fix by idly jawboning against the decision and waiting for the issue to go away. Well it won't work this time. The economic good of the region and his constituents depends on him standing up to this nonsense.

"Enough of the weasel words. He must tell his Government colleagues that unless the errant Ms Lee goes he will resign and force a by-election. A by-election would enable the put-upon Coasters to tell Ms Lee exactly what they think of her fundamentalist idealism.

"The people of the West Coast stood by Damien O'Connor at the last election despite Labour's unpopular Timberlands policy. It is time for Mr O'Connor to repay the loyalty. His constituents won't be fooled again.

"Sandra Lee has to be stopped. The debacle over Whitianga Waterways showed she is deeply opposed to the idea of business and people earning money. She reflects the cult of envy which dominates Alliance thinking.

"This latest decision is outrageous and it has to be reversed. ACT will, as it has in the past, fight for the rights of West Coasters to harness the ample resources in their area. We know were we stand on this issue, it's time Mr O'Connor showed his constituents where he stands

"He's accused Ms Lee of being gutless. She's not gutless at all - she's just demonstrating her zealous eco-fundamentalism. On the contrary, it is Mr O'Connor who has been found wanting. He now has to show that he has the mettle to deal with this issue," Gerry Eckhoff said.

Ends


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