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Govt Forests Announcement No Solution

"It is a conservation tragedy that clear felling of indigenous forests in Southland is to be allowed for at least another seven years," Dr Nick Smith, National's Environment spokesperson, said in response to the Government's proposed 'solution' to the ongoing SILNA issue.

"Only a spin doctor could describe this package as a solution. It goes nowhere near a solution, as it is totally reliant on voluntary agreements being reached with dozens of separate blocks owned by different groups when the money set aside is significantly short of what is required to permanently resolve this problem.

"This announcement simply kicks this issue for touch beyond the next election to save the Government political embarrassment. The task of finding a permanent solution will fall on a future government who is prepared to make it a serious priority.

"This Government's conservation priorities defy logic. It instantly stopped sustainable indigenous forestry on the West Coast but continues to drag its feet on stopping clear felling of Southland forests. The distorted priorities are reinforced by this $20 million package over seven years to stop clear felling in Southland whereas $120 million was spent in one year stopping sustainable forestry on the West Coast over comparable areas of land.

"The biggest losers in this package are indigenous foresters struggling to compete in a market distorted by timber from these clear felled forests when they are trying to do the right thing by sustainably managing their forests. Many of these businesses will not survive seven more years of unfair rules," Dr Smith said.


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