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Stop playing politics with West Coast windfall timber

Labour Leader

John Key – Stop playing politics with West Coast windfall timber

John Key should stop playing politics with the issue of harvesting windfall timber on the West Coast and give time for a responsible consideration of legislation, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.

“I have written to John Key to tell him that Labour’s support for government legislation to harvest windfall logs on the West Coast is subject to a number of critical amendments, including giving time for the public, particularly those on the West Coast, to have a say on the legislation.

“Given that the storm that caused this windfall was three months ago, the government’s use of urgency to pass legislation this week is clearly based on playing politics. Labour is proposing that a Select Committee consider the Bill and report back to Parliament within two weeks, still allowing for the legislation to be considered before the election.

“Further, Labour believes that any legislation must protect the conservation estate and also give West Coasters preferred access to the trees.

“We believe that the legislation should also set a two year time frame for this operation and not the five years currently being suggested. We also believe that the exemptions from the Resource Management Act seem unnecessary and would potentially provide an unfair advantage over private foresters. .

“Labour is also concerned about the economics of the whole operation. Any additional harvest of native timber may collapse timber prices and undermine existing sawmills.

“I believe that this indecent rush over passing this legislation has got a lot more to do with playing politics then finding sustainable jobs for the West Coast. Labour supports job creation but we want to ensure any change to the Conservation Act does not open the door to the logging of our native timber on Conservation land.

“We urge the government to take on board our proposals and amendments to allow the legislation to reflect this important balance.”


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