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Wood chip ban lifted to rescue Timberlands

The Green Party says National's decision to allow native wood chip exports is driven by the need to rescue Timberlands West Coast and prepare it for sale.

"Timberlands has failed to secure promised markets for its much hyped beech scheme so to keep it afloat the government is deliberately consigning magnificent beech trees to foreign chip mills," said Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald.

"We believe the government is preparing Timberlands sale and hopes the removal of the woodchip ban will increase Timberland's market value.

"Timberlands has been a political and financial liability for National. It doesn't pay a dividend to the taxpayer, it doesn't generate many jobs on the West Coast, and its unneccessary destruction of the Buller rainforests has brought international condemnation on the government.

"Instead of opening up the export market for native timber wood chips the beech scheme should be scrapped and the government should make Timberlands process its pine logs on the Coast," he said.

Meanwhile the Green Party says the government deserves credit for developing a proposal which looks likely to bring Maori owned native forest under the sustainable provisions of the Forest Amendment Act.

"Successive governments have failed to stop the destruction of indigenous forests which come under the South Island Landless Natives Act.

"We are pleased something is finally happening but we are also concerned that part of the SILNA settlement will come out of scarce conservation funds instead of being settled through the Waitangi Treaty process, where it rightfully belongs," Rod Donald said.

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