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Timberlands' Deals Aimed At Forcing Govt. Hand

New Timberlands West Coast contracts are aimed at forcing the next Government into logging native forests, Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald said today.

"The Green Party is appalled that Timberlands is locking-in long-term contracts, and has, only a few weeks ago, signed one such contract until December 31, 2007," Mr Donald said.

"Timberlands' biggest customer, milling company Westco Lagan has reportedly said yesterday that it expects logging to continue for another eight years and that a Labour Government would allow this to happen."

Last week, the Green Party complimented Labour for its pledge to stop the Timberlands' beech scheme, and its commitment not to honour new logging contracts, Mr Donald said. However it seemed Labour might be prepared to honour the Westco Lagan contract.

"If Labour is prepared to honour this contract, it spells the end to around 50,000 ancient rimu trees," Mr Donald said.

"The Green Party will pressure Labour to end the logging immediately after the election," he said. "It seems Timberlands is deliberately engineering long term contracts to try to tie the hands of whoever becomes government."

While National had backed the beech scheme, National had already pledged to stop the so-called "Buller overcut" of rimu next year, he said.

"Labour may have given Timberlands a loophole as wide as a Timberlands hauler site by saying existing contracts would be honoured," Mr Donald said. "Labour and National must both now call Timberlands' board to account and stop these strong-arm, contract-signing practices."


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