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No betrayal of West Coast Accord

2000 web site
Claims that Labour's indigenous forests policy abandons the 1986 West Coast Accord are wrong, says Labour Deputy Leader Michael Cullen.

"Enthusiasts for native timber logging on the West Coast keep brandishing the Accord like the Ten Commandments, making unsubstantiated claims about what it guarantees. In fact it does not guarantee even half of what is claimed for it."

Judgements from the High Court and the Court of Appeal have established clearly the limits of the agreement.

"It is often claimed that the Accord promised the West Coast a beech logging scheme. But Justice Greig ruled in 1995 that 'There was no commitment in that [the Accord] to provide a beech scheme at all and certainly not of any particular quantities or dimensions'."

"It is also claimed that the Accord guaranteed the survival of a native timber logging industry on the West Coast. But Justice Greig ruled that 'It was not and was never the case that the industry or any part of the industry was to be guaranteed or to be maintained or to be kept viable or profitable, either indefinitely or until the exotic resource reached its peak'."

A Court of Appeal ruling in 1997 rejected a claim that the Accord guaranteed loggers access to native timber in the Buller area until 2006. It said the relevant part of the accord "merely summarised a Government policy".

"Even National saw the need to change the policy allowing non-sustainable logging in the Buller. They say it should stop at the end of 2000 - we say it should stop immediately."

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