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Government’s forestry record woeful

Gordon Copeland Press Release
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, 19th March 2008

Government’s forestry record woeful

Independent MP Gordon Copeland, the Kiwi Party’s spokesperson on forestry, today expressed his dismay at the news that a record 19,000 hectares of trees were deforested in 2007.

“This follows the deforestation of 5,000 hectares in 2004, and a further 11,000 hectares in both 2005 and 2006,” said Mr Copeland.

“These outcomes can only be described as disastrous and I find the spin which Forestry Minister, Jim Anderton, has attached to those figures breathtaking in the scope of its denial.”

“Minister, the hard facts are that when New Zealand signed up to the Kyoto Protocol, we should have immediately embarked on a massive nation-wide tree planting exercise. If we had acted then, New Zealand would now have a greatly enlarged forestry carbon sink, and avoided our estimated $900 million liability under the Protocol.”

“At the same time, we would have prevented soil erosion and greatly improved the environment. The fact that the Minister, faced with those realities, greets the news of this vast deforestation by claiming that it could have been even worse, is mind boggling.”

“Simply stated, the Government is doing too little, too late and we have lost a fabulous opportunity through years of inaction.”

ENDS

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