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Jim Anderton pours petrol on forestry fire

Brian Connell MP National Party Forestry Spokesman

25 November 2003

Jim Anderton pours petrol on forestry fire

National Party Forestry spokesman Brian Connell says Jim Anderton needs to urgently re-think the heavy-handed way in which he's dealing with the forestry sector.

Mr Connell is supporting the concerns of Timber Industry Federation executive director Wayne Coffey who says the industry was operating in an 'extremely hostile environment' brought about by Government policies.

"Far from answering that criticism, Mr Anderton's now giving fresh fuel to the argument with public threats made on radio today.

"The Minister called on the industry to distance itself from Mr Coffey's concerns, otherwise the Government will 'stop doing what we're doing*' to help the industry.

"It's yet another example of a Government that uses threats and intimidation to silence its critics," says Mr Connell.

"The sad truth about this argument is that Mr Anderton has completely ignored the valid points being raised by Mr Coffey about suffocating regulatory creep.

"Mr Coffey says he has 'about 20 issues here that are costing us millions of dollars every year. They could be resolved but he (Mr Anderton) spends most of his time ... doing all the wrong things and talking to all the wrong people.*'

"Mr Anderton is supposed to be the champion of the jobs machine, but under his watch hundreds of jobs have gone from the forestry sector in recent weeks.

"He should be talking to these major exporters feeling the pinch from a high Kiwi dollar - not threatening them," says Mr Connell. Ends

(Reporters Note: *RNZ's Nine to Noon)

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