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Nick Smith logs out from reality

25 August 2005

Nick Smith logs out from reality

National's Nick Smith must have entered a parallel universe where his party's policy of "harvesting of native beech trees" is actually happening, says Minister co-ordinating SILNA policy Pete Hodgson.

Smith said on Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme today that "in Waitutu, as we speak, you have thousands of indigenous trees, predominantly beech, being clear-felled."

The Waitutu forest on the Fiordland coast is an iconic part of the Kiwi landscape that government has worked hard to protect. Waitutu’s SILNA owners had the option of logging it but chose instead to protect it in perpetuity not only for their own benefit, but for the benefit of all New Zealanders. Discussions are underway between the Nature Heritage Fund and the private owners of the remaining 136 hectares to protect that as well.

"If Smith had been paying attention, he would have noticed that just two weeks ago I announced the protection of another 114 hectare block to add to the 2171 hectares that were already protected. To claim clear-fell logging is allowable in Waitutu, let alone that it is taking place, is laughable," said Pete Hodgson.

In other SILNA forests, no logging can take place without Resource Management Act consent.

"National is on the record as saying that they would "gut" the RMA. National's Forestry Spokesman Brian Connell has said it is National policy to allow "harvesting of native beech trees from privately owned forest."

"All Nick Smith has really done is spell out exactly what would be allowable on iconic Kiwi land if National ever gets the chance to implement its policies."


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