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National totally contradictory on native logging

25 August 2005

National Party totally contradictory on native logging

The National Party needs to be honest about exactly what its policy is on logging New Zealand's conservation forests because once again it is saying one thing to one group of people, and a completely different thing to the rest of us, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today.

"For some weeks, National's forestry spokesman Brian Connell has been travelling the country telling forestry groups that National will reopen logging on conservation land, including on the South Island's West Coast," Mr Carter said.

"Mr Connell has been quoted in the media about this, and his comments follow similar statements by National's leader Don Brash on the West Coast last year, quoted in the Greymouth Evening Star.

"Last night Mr Connell confirmed the detail of National's forestry policy to the NZ Herald, and apparently provided a copy of the party's policy to the paper. But what-do-you-know, this morning National's environment spokesman Nick Smith went on National Radio and denied that what was reported in the NZ Herald was National's policy," Mr Carter said.

"Minutes later Mr Smith again changed National's position to confirm that yes, National would allow sustainable logging on conservation land, but only across small areas.

"What he didn't mention was that Mr Connell told the NZ Herald last night that National was considering a "substantial sustainable management regime" for logging on conservation land.

"Subsequent to all of this Mr Connell has now confirmed to the media that what he released last night was approved by National's caucus. Either someone in National is lying or the party is backtracking frantically from a position approved and adopted by its MPs," Mr Carter said.

"Either way, the New Zealand public deserves better than this? People care deeply about our protected native forests and the threatened native species they contain, and they deserve to know why National is again going to take the chainsaws to these forests," Mr Carter said.

"There is absolutely no good reason whatsoever to resume logging public native forest. Only about one third of the volume allowed to be harvested from private native forest is currently being harvested because of lack of demand and economic viability."

ENDS

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