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Timberlands Tried To Stiff-Arm Govt With Contracts

Timberlands West Coast tried to stiff-arm the incoming government by signing long term logging contracts after Labour's policy to end the logging was decided, the Greens revealed today.

"This validates the Government's decision to terminate the beech scheme, and shows they should end the rimu logging too," said Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

"The suggestion that the Government is bound by 'existing contracts' is a big con - it is actually just Timberlands trying to manipulate the issue again. The Government should not bow to these tactics.

Ms Fitzsimons said she had very reliable information that Timberlands learned of Labour's caucus decision on Tuesday September 7th "and then rushed around signing up contracts before the policy was announced on Friday September 10th. The company signed six agreements to supply native logs for up to eight years in two days." Labour's policy was to honour existing contracts at the time their policy was announced.

The biggest supply deals are said to have been signed on the Thursday afternoon, just hours before Labour's policy was announced at 9 am the next morning.

"I have spoken to Pete Hodgson, the Minister now responsible for Timberlands. We have asked him to confirm that our information is correct and then to cancel the rimu contracts before they commence on January 1st. We can't start the new millennium with a new round of native forest logging.

"The Green party has been given a copy of one of the eight year contracts. We are delighted to discover that they contain a force majeure clause that would allow them to be terminated following a change of government policy.

"There is no obstacle, legal or financial, to stopping all the logging, as the public was promised," she said.

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