No Plans To Privatise Timberlands
Conservation Minister Nick Smith today slammed Native Forest Action for distorting his views on the future of Timberlands as outlined at the annual ECO Conference in Wellington on Friday night.
"This is a gross and deliberate distortion of my stated views. I said that I believe it is not in the Government's long term interests to be in the forestry business, but that the Government has no immediate plans to sell Timberlands West Coast. The process of selling any State Owned Enterprise involves a scoping exercise, followed by a due diligence step and then any sale agreement. None of these steps have been taken, or are planned with regard to Timberlands West Coast."
"The arguments about foreign ownership are highly dubious. There is no evidence to show there are any more or less jobs from foreign as compared with domestic ownership of companies. Companies invest in job creation when it is profitable, regardless of ownership. Foreign ownership is unlikely even if Government decides to sell Timberlands West Coast as the first right of refusal is provided for Ngai Tahu as part of the Ngai Tahu Deed of Settlement. The fact that Government may one day sell all, or part of Timberlands is nothing new. That it is mentioned in the Ngai Tahu settlement is evidence of that."
"If jobs are the issue, then the one guarantee is, that there will be no jobs if sustainable logging is killed in the name of political correctness. Native Forest Action and Labour are attempting to seduce Coasters with nebulous notions of "regional development". Coasters have "been there, done that" with the West Coast Investment Allowance which produced such disasters as the Matai Industries Plastics Factory, and they won't be fooled again."