Labour forests policy a conservation breakthrough
"By signalling the end of logging of Crown owned indigenous forests, Labour will be protecting a significant part of the remnants of lowland forests in New Zealand. A 1997 Department of Conservation report described 92% of state-owned Timberlands West Coast forests as providing "outstanding wildlife habitat" with high or medium onservation values, deserving protection under the Nature Heritage Fund's criteria.
"The West Coast Crown indigenous forests are essential habitat for many gravely endangered native species, including the great spotted kiwi, short tailed bat, kaka native parrot, insects and fishes. Labour's policy will go a long way towards protecting local biodiversity. This must be backed up by sound conservation practices such as the elimination of predators.
"Not only are indigenous forests being protected on the West Coast but a special economic package will be negotiated to assist the transition from indigenous logging. The package will provide more jobs than the West Coast was ever going to get from logging indigenous forests.
"Protection of the forests will provide long term benefits for future generations. It is possible to combine conservation and productivity for the benefit of all New Zealanders," says Jill Pettis.