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Minister Tries To Re-Write History

Minister Tries To Re-Write History

Wednesday 4 Aug 2004

Ken Shirley - Press Releases - Environment & Conservation

Minister Pete Hodgson's attempt at setting the record straight on Timberlands and Kit Richards is an appallingly crass attempt to re-write history, ACT New Zealand Environment and Conservation Spokesman Ken Shirley said today.

"At the time, Kit Richards was an employee of the Government-owned SOE Timberlands. It was his duty to carry out the statement of corporate intent as signed by the shareholding Ministers," Mr Shirley said.

"Part of that statement of corporate intent was the carrying out of the sustainable management of designated beech forests on the West Coast in accordance with a Government-approved proposal.

"As an incoming Minister after the 1999 election, Pete Hodgson acted irresponsibly - and possibly illegally - by pontificating his Government's foolish anti-forestry proposals of nil harvesting but failing to amend the statement of corporate intent.

"It was the incoming Government that politicised this issue, placing Timberlands West Coast employees in an invidious position. Kit Richards was carrying out the instructions of the Government-approved statement of corporate intent, and the onus was on the shareholding Ministers to change that statement rather than chastising the employees for doing their job.

"The incoming Labour Government's reneging on the West Coast Accord, which provided for sustainable management in perpetuity, totally undermines the integrity of governments to the point where any group would be very loath and unwise to enter into any accord with a future government based on this experience.

"The Ministers concerned broke their word. The best advice for Pete Hodgson would be to keep his head down in shame, rather than try to re-write history to cover his and the Prime Minister's disgraceful political performance," Mr Shirley said.

ENDS

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