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Forestry crisis deepens as industry spits dummy

Hon Nick Smith National Party Environment Spokesman

22 February 2006

Forestry crisis deepens as industry spits dummy at Minister

National's Environment spokesman, Nick Smith, says the Forestry Minister has egg all over his face following a meeting yesterday with industry representatives.

"Mr Anderton claimed that the meeting was positive and that talks with officials would resume.

But the Forestry Owners Association responded in a press statement by saying they were 'surprised and disappointed' by Mr Anderton's comments which, in their view, did not reflect the meeting.

"The group went on to say they would not engage with officials again." Dr Smith says this crisis and standoff with the Government is killing confidence in New Zealand's fourth largest export industry.

"The problem lies not with the industry itself but with the Labour Government's foolish Kyoto policies.

"The Government is using and abusing forest owners by taking their carbon credits but expecting them to carry the can for the debits of deforestation. "This crisis will not be resolved until the Government abandons the grossly unfair deforestation cap.

"Trust in Jim Anderton, as Forestry Minister, has completely evaporated. It is time for the Prime Minister to step in and sort out this mess," says Dr Smith.

ENDS

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