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Young Nick's childishness, again

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"Nick Smith continues to reinterpret Labour's policy on native forests to his own mischievous and childish ends," says Labour's forestry spokesperson Pete Hodgson.

Mr Hodgson was responding to Dr Smith's claim that Labour is discriminating against the West Coast because its policy against native logging on Crown property does not apply to the Longwoods beech forest in Southland.

"Dr Smith conveniently overlooks the fact that the management of Longwoods is in private hands. The owners, Waitutu Trust, have rights equivalent to any private land owner. The fact that the land under the trees is Crown owned is irrelevant.

"Dr Smith knows this very well because his predecessor Denis Marshall negotiated the deal to save the Waitutu podocarp forest on the Southland coast. The underlying land in Waitutu is in private hands but that forest is being managed as part of the Fiordland National Park in perpetuity. Similarly the underlying land at Longwoods is in public ownership but the forest is being managed privately, in perpetuity.

"Dr Smith began his silly 'I don't understand' games a few days ago when he was in Southland and has been unable to wean himself off them since. This is the same childishness that saw the Government claim, wrongly, that Labour's policy would wipe out the furniture industry, or that Ngai Tahu's right of first refusal on Timberlands West Coast would put Labour's policy in jeopardy.

"Dr Smith can twist in the wind as pedantically as he likes, but Labour's policy does not apply to Longwoods forest for the very good reason that it is privately managed."

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