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Labour Must State Position On West Coast Beech

Labour Must State Position On West Coast Beech Scheme

Tuesday 29th Jun 1999

Ken Shirley

Media Release -- Other

ACT Deputy Leader Ken Shirley has called on the Labour Party to stop playing 'cat and mouse' with West Coast voters and to state their position on the West Coast beech scheme unequivocally.

"All political parties except Labour have now clearly stated their position. For West Coast voters this must be the most defining issue in the forthcoming General Election. The future of the Coast development and job creation is symbolised by this issue.

"On the one hand we have Labour's Conservation spokesperson Jill Pettis, supported by Party Leader Helen Clark, telling the AGM of Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society that a Labour Government would not permit any harvest of native timber on Crown owned land.

"On the other hand Labour's Forestry spokesperson and Tasman West Coast MP Damien O'Connor attempts to placate "Coasters" with bland assurances of support for the Timberlands proposal and West Coast development generally.

"Timberlands West Coast beech scheme is a good proposal. It is one of the best examples globally of truly ecologically based sustainable management of a forest and if this scheme is not permitted no other proposal for sustainable harvest would be possible.

"Successive governments have betrayed the West Coast by changing the rules. Timberlands beech scheme is in full compliance with the West Coast Accord signed between conservation groups and Government in 1987 and must be permitted to proceed," said Hon Ken Shirley.

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